Converge Church Planter Assessment

I’ve been attending a Church Planter Assessment Center for Converge all week. Not only do they have one of the most vibrant church planting movements in the U.S., they really know how to assess potential church planters. The assessment process is one part of a three part process that has allowed them to achieve somewhere near an 85% success rate in their church plants. The three parts are Assessment, Coaching and Risk Management. Having taken part in this process now, I understand why they have such a good reputation in the assessment world.

Their assessment includes three different personality profiles, multiple problem solving activities, public speaking, philosophy of ministry, interviews and other tools. All of these put together provide an accurate picture of the potential planter, which leads to a very valuable assessment. Not everyone who wants to plant churches is wired for the task. Some who are wired aren’t quite ready. The assessment recommends practical steps for these candidates to help them become prepared.

One of the hardest things an assessor can do is to tell a potential candidate that he is not wired for church planting. As difficult as this is, it is also the best thing an assessor can do for that person. It can save them a lot of pain and suffering.

Risk Management in Church Planting

I just returned from a training event with Tom Nebel and Paul Johnson from Converge International. They shared that when their church planting movement began they had a 50 – 60% success rate (the determining factor being that the church still existed after 5 years). Then they began doing church planter assessments and their success rate rose to 70%.  I will be observing at one of their Assessment Centers next month. 

After that they began a system of coaching for all of their church planters and their success rate rose to 80%. (The training event I was attending is part of their coach training process.) This rate is above the national average which is good. But they were still troubled that one in five of their plants were still failing. They then developed a way of determining the risk potential for a planter including cultural, geographical financial and other related factors. Using this tool to help manage risk, their success rate is 85% or above.

They believe the other 15% or so is due to spiritual factors – how much prayer, listening to God, etc.  went in to the launch.