Planting a new church is exciting, and for the most part spiritually and emotionally rewarding. It also comes with a massive cost and a lot of potential breaking points. Understanding not only the call on your life but also your strengths and weaknesses is so beneficial as a church planter, if not life-saving down the road.
All of us would like to believe that we are capable of navigating through all the tough stuff. We tend to think that we know how to choose the right things to focus our hearts, time, and energy on. We must ask ourselves, am I easily veered off course from my mission? Do I have the experience and equipping to forecast potential danger? Or do I not know what’s going on until I crash?
Thankfully, there are tools and resources that church planters can add to their toolkit to help them along in their journey. These tools won’t altogether eliminate rookie mistakes, but they can help identify areas of concern. Instead of toughing-it-out, going it alone, and potentially burning out, you can begin to find healing before something goes wrong.
Do I have the experience and equipping to forecast potential danger? Or do I not know what’s going on until I crash?
As part of the relational discernment process for church planting with Multiply Vineyard, planters are invited to complete a full psychological assessment with Campion Barrow & Associates. The company is made up of a staff of licensed clinical psychologists and social workers who specialize in church plant and ministry readiness assessments. The assessment addresses the candidate’s self-awareness in areas of strengths, maturity, and addressing hurts, hang-ups, and habits.
When I hear the word “assessment” I’m always a bit reluctant, especially when I’m the one being assessed. Yet, the assessment was probably one of the most beneficial and life-enhancing experiences my wife Susan and I have had the opportunity to participate in as church planters, let alone, as Christians.
I’m not going to candy-coat this for you. The test is long! The good thing is that it’s all about you, who you think you are, and maybe who you didn’t know you are. Once the test is completed, it’s sent off to the Campion folks for analysis and they do whatever magic (science) they do behind the proverbial curtain.
One of the trained assessors from Campion contacted us a few weeks after we took the assessment to set up a feedback session where he went over our results and the profiles they developed from our answers. I was amazed at the detail and accuracy of the information each of the personality profiles contained. Our assessor caringly and sensitively led us through our test results, as well as some observations and recommendations he had for each of us individually.
For example, one of the observations about me is that I can lead an overly busy life to the point that I can ignore my own spiritual, physical, emotional, and relational needs. To help mitigate this imbalance in my life, it was recommended that I create, with accountability, a robust and non-negotiable self-care plan.
One key aspect of my self-care plan is accountability. An important part of the assessment is that my results are shared with my sending pastor and coach, as well as my regional overseer. Now every time I meet with my coach, he follows up with me about whether I’m getting the proper exercise and rest needed to sustain a healthy life balance.
The information you obtain from the assessment is invaluable in helping you better understand yourself as a leader.
If you’re still skeptical or if you have apprehension in regards to personal assessments like these, take heart. The information you obtain from the assessment is invaluable in helping you better understand yourself as a leader. The real strength and benefit of this process is that it identifies areas the planter should be cognizant of, areas that if not addressed now could cause issues later down the road.
I believe that this is one of the best resources that Multiply Vineyard has to offer church planters. The Campion assessment was both validating and enlightening for us individually and as a couple, and in many ways, it was surprisingly prophetic. Our experience was such a positive one that we recommended the assessment to our entire core leadership because one day, they too will be leading ministries and planting churches themselves and our hope is always to raise up healthy and whole leaders.
If you have questions or would like to begin the Multiply Vineyard discernment process, email Arleta Aureli at [email protected] for more information.
Vance Steinman is planting the CommonHouse Vineyard, which will be located in the Woodinville/Bothell area of Washington state. Vance and his wife Susan started attending the Vineyard Anaheim in the late eighties while in college and have called the Vineyard home ever since. A favorite activity they enjoy together is spending time with their 3 children, Aaron, Emma, Sarah, son-in-law Travis, and their future son-in-law Caleb.