16 Building Blocks Necessary for Planting a Church, Part 5

Glenn Herschberger

Executive Director of Church Planting, Converge Great Lakes

  • Church planting & multiplication

Dr. Charles Ridley conducted a study of church planters in the United States and Canada. Based on his research and subsequent field testing, he developed a list of characteristics that define effective church planters. Over the years, these characteristics have been used to select church planters during the Church Planter Assessment Center. Every church could and should begin the process of developing these 16 characteristics in their people. In order to develop a pipeline and identify potential planters and leaders within the local church, churches must be intentional in their discipleship. As a reminder, here are all the blocks listed:
  1. Relationship with God
  2. Emotional Health/Self Image
  3. Relational Ability
  4. Marriage and Family Relationships
  5. Personal Integrity
  6. Vision/Philosophy of Ministry
  7. Evangelism
  8. Leadership Gifts/Ability
  9. Entrepreneur/Organizer
  10. Public Ministry Skills
  11. Enthusiasm/Energy
  12. Faith
  13. Productivity
  14. Knowledge of Church Planting/Church Growth
  15. Discipling
  16. Ability to Gather and Motivate Others
Over the summer, we addressed Building Blocks 1-7. Blocks 1-5 are blocks that are necessary for any ministry role. Blocks 6-16, however, are crucial to be a Church Planter, equipped to plant a new work. In this article I will be addressing building blocks number eight and nine, Leadership Gifts/Ability and Entrepreneur/Organizer.
Leadership Gifts/Ability
When we assess individuals for ministry, including church planting, we want to see that they have a very obvious leadership ability and skillset. We are going to ask the following questions: Do people naturally want to follow him/her anywhere? Can they build strong teams? Do they use proper leadership styles? Do people seek out their leadership? We also want a history of a proven track record of leading successful organizations by this individual.


Today, a key leadership quality is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence means that they are able to recognize what they are feeling. They are able to self-regulate (get more excited and more engaged), or able to regulate and calm themselves down. This is an important leadership quality: the capacity to lead people to become more engaged, more excited, or to calm down when they're overly excited. These are qualities of a leader that make a big difference in effectiveness. 
Another skill set is their cognitive skills, their ability to analyze what's going on. They need critical thinking skills to recognize what's true and what's not true, to see through illusion and to get to a bottom line with people. When we talk about leadership qualities, we're talking about people skills, and cognitive skills. We are assessing their critical thinking skills and their emotional intelligence skills during every encounter during the church planting assessment process.
Another aspect of leadership that needs to be present is the ability to communicate a clear, compelling vision for the church. Do they know what it will look like? Have they thought through an integrated philosophy of ministry? Can they get others excited about the vision? Are others consistently attracted to the vision? Are the church planter and the church willing to sacrifice for the greater vision?
We are also looking for church planters who have a proven track record of showing unusual ability to lead people to Christ.
One of the best questions to ask a potential church planter is, "Tell me about something you have started?" The immediate follow up question should always be, "Is it still going today?" A person with an entrepreneur skill set is constantly planning and solving problems. They love to start new projects. They have a track record of starting new programs or ministries, and they can gather resources well. This person can plan and organize new ventures with clarity and precision. An organizer finds creative solutions to problems and will actively seek out new opportunities.
The path to church planting is often a treacherous one filled with unexpected detours, roadblocks and setbacks. There are lots of sleepless nights, plans that don't work out, funding that doesn't come through and team members that never arrive. It can be so challenging to launch a new church that it may make you wonder why anyone willingly sets out on such a path.
Despite all of these hardships, every year, hundreds of church planters embark on this journey determined to bring a new vision to fruition and fill a need they see in their targeted community with a new Gospel presence. They also know they have been called by God and it's a Call they can't ignore any longer.
As a self-identified Entrepreneur - Church Planter, I am constantly looking for similar people that have a desire to start new churches and congregations. I firmly believe that they are in every one of our churches in our district. We just need to find them and develop them.
As a church, ask yourself these questions of potential church planting candidates:
  • Would you join the candidate's core group?
  • Would you support the candidate financially?
  • Would you send your friends or family to the church plant?
  • What are the building blocks that are present in the candidate?
  • What are the building blocks that are not present in the candidate?
As I close, will you join me in praying One in 21? Can we raise up one church planter from your congregation, one missionary, one new church plant in the year 2021. We are still on mission with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can do this as the Lord leads.

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