Howdy. Step right up for another tasty chunk of practical wisdom for church planters.
Our recent Planter Session webinar, “The A-Z of Assessment”, did what it says in the title. Executive director Scott and Geneva assessor Greg chatted at length about the various components of the Geneva Push assessment process.
What part does the Spirit play?
One of the questions that you guys put to Scott and Greg during the interactive webinar was how does Geneva view the work of the Holy Spirit? When it comes to assessing whether a church planter has what it takes, how does the Holy Spirit inform Geneva's assessment process.
Great question, right? Sure is. Greg was quick to answer it, by contrasting how Scripture reveals the interaction between the Holy Spirit and us.
“In books like 1 Timothy or Titus, Paul tells Titus to go and appoint elders,” said Greg. “It's not that the Spirit is at work apart from human agency and yet, in Acts 20, the Holy Spirit has made these people overseers.
“You're looking at both together. I wouldn't say that when a church puts forward a young planter, that's just a human point of view. Whereas, a guy who stands up and says 'No-one has actually encouraged me to do this but I feel that the Spirit pushing me forward' – I'd be nervous about that.”
The reliability of suitability
Is Greg saying that Geneva Push only accepts church planters who have been raised up through an existing church congregation? No. Instead, he's upholding what he believes to be a trustworthy environment for the Spirit's work and direction to be made clear.
“I think the way the Spirit tends to move people into leadership is through the church that he saves us in to. It doesn't mean that the church is the only one who can affirm someone but it means the church is a really quite reliable way of knowing whether someone is suitable for ministry.”
Greg was quick to point out that a member of his church had not been earmarked for any formal ministry but he went off and got involved in service that eventually led to the planting of a new church. He was excited by what the Spirit revealed on that occasion but maintains, in his experience, that example is in the minority.
“But, by and large, I think you're going to see the Spirit at work through the church, in its leadership, appointing and bringing people on.”