Friday, November 2, 2012

Essential Qualities for a Church Planter - Charles Ridley

What are the essential qualities need to be a great church planter? Following a study back in 1988 across church plants in the U.S.A and Canada, Dr. Charles R. Ridley (PhD - University of Indiana) produced a list of 13 qualities that church planters needed. Below are the 13 qualities, with descriptions under each. I wonder if you are a church planter, or a leader of a church, how many of these qualities you excel in.

This excerpt is attributed to Charles Ridley:

Visioning Capacity
  • Being a person who projects into the future beyond the present.
  • Developing a theme which highlights the vision and philosophy of ministry.
  • Coping effectively with non-visioning elements.
  • Not erecting artificial walls or limits either overtly or subconsciously.
  • Establishing a clear church identity related to the theme and vision.
  • Believing in God’s capacity to do great things.

Intrinsically Motivated
  • Having a desire to do well and a commitment to excellence.
  • Stick-to-itiveness and persistence.
  • Having initiative and aggressiveness without the negative connotations.
  • Having a willingness to work long and hard.
  • Being a self-starter with a willingness to build from nothing.
  • Having a high energy and vitality level; physical stamina.

Creates Ownership of Ministry
  • Helping people to feel responsible for the growth and success of the church.
  • Gaining a commitment of the people to the vision.
  • Establishing a congregational identity.
  • Avoiding stereotyping of the congregation by imposing unrealistic goals.

Relates to the Unchurched
  • Communicating in style that is understood by the unchurched.
  • Understanding the psychology or mentality of the unchurched.
  • Moving and functioning in the personal space of the unchurched without fear.
  • Quickly getting to know the unchurched on a personal level.
  • Breaking through the barriers erected by the unchurched.
  • Handling crises faced by the unchurched.

Spousal Cooperation
  • Having an explicit agreement regarding each partner’s involvement in ministry.
  • Having explicit rules regarding the use of home as an office.
  • Evaluating the consequences of ministry demands upon the children.
  • Functioning as a team through individual and collective action.
  • Having a strategy for dealing with strangers.
  • Modeling wholesome family life before church and community.
  • Agreeing upon and sharing the ministry vision.
  • Deliberately planning and protecting private family life.

Effectively Builds Relationships
  • Responding with urgency to expressed needs and concerns of people.
  • Displaying Godly love and compassion to people.
  • Getting to know people on a personal basis.
  • Making others feel secure and comfortable in one’s presence.
  • Not responding judgmentally or prejudicially to new people.
  • Appreciating and accepting a variety of persons.
  • Spends time with present parishioners without ignoring them for new people.

Committed to Church Growth
  • Believing in church growth as a theological principle.
  • Appreciating steady growth without preoccupation with quick success .
  • Committing to numerical growth within the context of spiritual and relational growth.
  • Recognizing that non-growth is threatening and self-defeating.
  • Establishing the goal of quickly becoming a financially self-supporting church.
  • Not prematurely falling into a ministry of maintenance.
  • Seeing the church project within the larger context of God’s kingdom.

Responsive to Community
  • Understanding the culture of the community.
  • Identifying and assessing community needs.
  • Responding to community needs on a priority basis.
  • Determining successes and failures of other attempts to respond to the community.
  • Not confusing what the community needs with what the church wants to offer.
  • Acquiring and understanding of the character and pulse of the community.
  • Adapting the philosophy of ministry to the character of the community.

Utilizes Giftedness of Others
  • Understanding the culture of the community.
  • Releasing and equipping people to do the task of ministry.
  • Discerning of spiritual gifts in others.
  • Matching the gifts of people with ministry needs and opportunities.
  • Delegating effectively in areas of personal limitation.
  • Avoiding personal overload by delegating effectively.
  • Not prematurely assigning ministry positions before people are equipped.
  • Not placing unwarranted restrictions on other’s spiritual giftedness.

Flexible and Adaptable
  • Coping effectively with ambiguity.
  • Coping effectively with constant and abrupt change.
  • Adapting oneself to the uniqueness of the particular church planting project.
  • Shifting priorities and emphasis during various stages of church growth.
  • Doing whatever is necessary whenever necessary.

Builds Group Cohesiveness
  • Developing a nucleus group or groups as a foundation.
  • Quickly incorporating newcomers into a network of relationships.
  • Engaging others in meaningful church activity.
  • Monitoring the morale of people.
  • Utilizing groups effectively.
  • Dealing with conflict assertively, constructively and tactfully.

  • Experiencing setbacks without defeat.
  • Riding the ups and downs (i.e. attendance).
  • Expecting the unexpected.
  • Rebounding from loss, disappointments and failure.

Exercises Faith
  • Possessing a conviction regarding one’s call to church planting ministry.
  • Believing in God’s action.
  • Having expectation and hope.
  • Having a willingness to wait for answers to specific prayer requests.


That's Charles Ridley's 13 Essential Qualities of a Church Planter.

--> 10 Reasons Why People Don't Go to Church

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