We get pastors from within our church. Every time we’ve hired from the outside it has hurt us.
We think this is because we’ve developed a unique ‘DNA’ over the years and that it is unfair to expect a new person to run with it, not having learned it.
All our church planters are the product of a long disciplemaking process. This often starts around Junior High where our leaders are dedicated to observing and marking out latent leadership qualities for future kingdom expansion.
In fact, more than half our current senior staff got their start back when they were in Junior High—as did our best worship teams.
But we also ‘harvest’ pastors and staff members from the ranks of our home group leaders or, “MiniChurch pastors.” Our model involves multiplying by hiving off a small group who take the principle leader with them. This leaves the strongest apprentice leader behind with the bulk of the group and with strong momentum.
When we see a MiniChurch pastor launch his third group we believe we are recognizing a ‘pastor’ in the sense of Ephesians 4:12. At this point we keep an eye on that person for whatever opportunities may develop around their life.
Formal education is a nice thing to have and I heartily endorse it. But we are looking at faithfulness and fruitfulness as the key ingredients to church multiplication success.
We do know that a long and rich discipling experience results in the most success. For us this is a four to seven year process. We take our time, yet we’ve multiplied more than 700 churches. We “make haste slowly.”
I’ve written about this process in great detail in my book, “How To Multiply Your Church.” In fact it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that most of what I know fits within that slim book.
Our pastors include a medical doctor, a few religion majors, a motorcycle racing mechanic, lots of carpenters and some seminary grads. But all came up through a thorough disciplemaking process.