MentorNet #43

Factors Limiting Sustaining Church Planting Movements

Copyright © 2006 by Galen Currah and George Patterson
May be freely copied, translated, posted, and distributed.


How can church planters and shepherds of new flocks be mobilized and trained in a way that sustains a church planting movement? Before we tackle this question, here are two related notices:

1.    Jay Pratt, who works in southeast Asia, wants to communicate with others who have used Paul-Timothy (, Shepherd’s Storybook, Train And Multiply® or other, similar, pastoral training materials that:

·         enable mentors to select studies for specific, new-church needs, and

·         are geared to rapid multiplication of simple churches, and

·         have contributed to sustaining a church planting movement beyond its initial stages.



If this fits you, please e-mail and describe the training you have done. If you have prepared such materials and are willing to share them freely with others, then please e-mail a sample copy. We especially want to communicate with trainers of workers who have enabled churches to reproduce as daughter churches and grand-daughter churches, etc., through 2 Timothy 2:2 mentoring chains:

2.    In a new book, Reproducible Pastoral Training (, Patrick O’Connor has compiled the church planting and pastoral training principles that George Patterson has used and taught over the years. O’Connor makes it easy to pinpoint methods with which you may want help to sustain church multiplication. Victor Choudhrie, MD, of Nagpur, India, wrote:

Reproducible Pastoral Training is an impressive, up-to-date manual on church planting that should be studied by all who are involved in church planting movements. The principles laid are universal and scriptural.

 Factors that Limit Church Planting Movements — and Remedies

Factors that combine to sustain a church planting movement include God’s sovereign election, a people’s receptivity, visionary faith and prayer, organization that empowers new workers, wise use of funds, a passionate love for our Lord Jesus Christ, sound doctrine and holiness, adaptation to culture, and ability to endure persecution. While we are vitally concerned with all of these, this MentorNet message focuses on recruiting and training church planters and shepherds.

1.    Limiting factor: Many church planters are young men without jobs who must be supported by a limited source of funds that often come from outside of the region they serve.

Remedy: Enlist as church planters more persons who already have an income and who would qualify as a shepherding elder as defined by the New Testament.

2.    Limiting factor: If church planters are trained only in occasional workshops or academies held during the day, then those who work during the day cannot attend them. Thus, only single young people are trained, bypassing ‘elder types’ who support themselves and have the maturity required in many communities to reach serious-minded heads of families.

Remedy: Supplement class-room type training with mentoring that is available to all, such as is described under “Mentor New Leaders” from

3.    Limiting factor: Church planters who are volunteers and self-supported often have jobs or businesses that do not let them travel far.

Remedy: Let paid or professional church planters start only the first two or three churches in a region, as they are able to travel afar. Thereafter, let these churches send some of their own members to plant the rest of the churches nearby in their region. The most effective church planting teams normally are composed of members of a nearby 'mother' church of the same culture. Such members usually have friends and relatives living where they plant daughter churches. This type of church reproduction is described under “Start, Develop and Renew God's Flocks” at

4.    Limiting factor: New churches often have new leaders with only a minimal amount of training and Bible knowledge.

Remedy: Enable all shepherds to fulfill their biblical duty of mentoring the new leaders of their daughter churches in the same way that Jesus and the apostle Paul did, as also described under “Mentor New Leaders” at

5.    Limiting factor: Missionaries and church planters often lack experience in a type of mentoring that is both biblical and 'menu-driven,' which meets urgent needs of new churches, and is geared to rapid church reproduction.


1)       Ask a mentor to help you start mentoring. The mentors listed under “Select a Mentor Skilled in your Area” at  charge no fees (unless being mentored for academic credit). They will stay with you, helping you to think through your plans, until you see churches multiply.

2)       Teach and apply biblical guidelines of Christian mentoring. See “Tasks of a Christian mentor and Mentoring 'Chains' in Scripture” under “Mentor New Leaders” at

6.    Limiting factor: Mentoring the way Jesus and Paul did it proves too time-consuming to continue doing indefinitely.

Remedy: Like Jesus and Paul's apprentices, your trainees must be weaned from intensive mentoring as soon as their churches are practicing the vital ministries that are required by the New Testament. These trainees, in turn, must by now have the confidence and skills to mentor other, newer leaders of their daughter churches or cells. Trainees can then receive ongoing training in more conventional forms such as workshops, personal reading and classroom instruction. Just take care not to force institutional training on the newer leaders.

Clarification: David Garrison has stated that mentoring is a common element in church planting movements; he did not list it as an essential, universal component. This needs clarification. We agree with Garrison that structured mentoring is not a universal element in church planting movements. However, some kind of mentoring, coaching or disciple-makining on a leadership level must take place in some way.


Sustaining a church planting movement requires ongoing training of church planters and shepherds. In many movements, especially where churches must multiply under severe restrictions, mentoring as done in the ways that Christ and Paul did it, does in fact sustain the movement.


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Mentoring Resources for Church Reproduction

To find mentoring tools and web sites, visit <>.

To download free, reproducible training materials for new leaders & missionaries:

To download "Come, Let Us Disciple the Nations" (software), visit <>.

To order Church Multiplication Guide in English, visit <> or a book shop.

To order Reproducible Pastoral Training in English, visit <> or a book shop.

To download CMG free in Portuguese or French, visit <>.

To download this article or earlier MentorNet articles, visit <>.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to MentorNet, write to <>.

To obtain counsel on church planting, write to George Patterson at <>.

To learn how to use Train & Multiply® write to Galen Currah <>.

To obtain information on how to obtain T&M®, visit <>.


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