16 Building Blocks Necessary for Planting a Church, Part 2

Glenn Herschberger

Executive Director of Church Planting, Converge Great Lakes

  • Church planting & multiplication
  • //
  • Leadership

Last month, we asked, “what does a typical church planter look like?”  There is no typical church planter. Each individual is different, and God is currently working through them within their gifts and abilities. Uncovering the 16 building blocks will, however, let us see if God has gifted them with the necessary building blocks to build on for vocational ministry. Church planting is tough enough with all of the blocks present. It can be devastating to the pastor, church, and people when a church planter is sent out to do the work with key blocks missing. That is why we lean so heavily on the Church Planting Assessment Center at Converge Great Lakes and across the entire Converge tribe. The Assessment Center assesses based on the 16 Building Blocks, not based on a specific church planting model or a specific location.

If you recall, the Sixteen Building Blocks are based in the research by Dr. Charles Ridley of Indiana University. As a result of his research in the 1990’s, he developed the “Charles Ridley's 13 Factors for Successful Church Planters” which became the foundational work for church planting assessment centers within Converge.

The Sixteen Building Blocks are the capacities and skills needed by the Lead Pastor/Multi-Site Pastor in a church plant.

I believe every local church could and should begin the process of identifying and developing these 16 characteristics in their potential planters and ministry leaders. Over the course of the next few months, I’d like to address each of the building blocks.

The next two key building blocks that we look for in a viable church planter are Emotional Health/Self Image and Relational Ability.

Emotional Health/Self Image.

Emotional health is a person's ability to accept and manage feelings through life challenge and life change. Someone who is emotionally healthy can allow their emotions to be pleasant. The routine hassles of daily life offer opportunities to practice intentional responses, rather than reactions, to allow emotional health to flourish. Emotional health encompasses mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addiction, and other conditions. But being emotionally healthy also means managing day-to-day issues like stress, making and keeping friendships, changing bad habits, and using your creativity, all of which can have an impact on your physical health as well.

As a church planter, there are so many issues that pop up in the early days of planning the launch of a new church. How you manage those stressors in your reactions and responses to those stressors is vitally important. Because if you don’t handle those well, if affects your effectiveness in reaching your community. You can do irreparable damage to your reputation by overreactions or inappropriate responses.

The second building block we are looking at is a person’s Relational Ability.

Relational skills are the skills that change our lives and transform our relationships with God and others. They are a set of abilities that help us coordinate our lives, gain understanding, recognize values, adjust our attitudes, and motivate our actions rightly as they relate to what is going on in the hearts and minds of those around us. More than simple rules of engagement or maps to the world of people, relational abilities let us know at a glance far more than one can usually put into words about what is going on inside someone else.
A person’s Relational Ability will help them know when to keep quiet, and when to speak up. These skills provide empathy that prevents us all from acting in a rude or offensive manner. Relational ability makes us feel loved, special, understood, and adequately corrected, and helps us recover when something goes wrong.
Potential church planters with healthy relational abilities seem to “get it” while those without this ability “don’t seem to have a clue.” They are sensitive to reading the emotional climate of people and can offer words of healing, encouragement and love. Ultimately, relational ability is about the accuracy of perception. The best relational capabilities allow us to see and treat others the way God sees and treats us.


Next Month we will be addressing building blocks 4. and 5: Marriage and Family Relationships and Personal Integrity.

As always, keep an eye out for potential planters and ministry leaders within your church, and look for these characteristics in the people you lead.





Glenn Herschberger, Executive Director of Church Planting, Converge Great Lakes

Glenn Herschberger planted his first church, Real Hope Community Church, in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, in 1999. He and his wife, Susan, then served as Converge missionaries in Panama City, Panama, where they planted LifeBridge International Church in 2012. Glenn was the director of Mobilization for Converge in Orlando before being asked to lead the church planting movement for Converge Great Lakes. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin. He is also a graduate of the Center for Excellence in Congregational Leadership and received his master’s degree in biblical counseling from Luther Rice Seminary.

Additional articles by Glenn Herschberger