Thursday, June 28, 2007

A World Class Training Center

A few years ago the Elders from Hill Country Bible Church in Austin, TX embraced the vision of one day having a world class training center for church planters. Today that vision is becoming a reality.

Hill Country has been refining and developing their program now for two years. They have just enlisted a corp of church planting residents for this fall who will be preparing to plant churches in Austin by September 2008. Each year they plan to train and support multiple planters to reach the city of Austin. Their vision is that every man, woman and child in the greater Austin area would hear about the life-changing reality of the gospel through a relationship with someone from a Hill Country church. However, they also understand that a city will not be reached by only one church even if that church has an aggressive church planting strategy. So they are partnering with every evangelical ministry that they can in the city to bring about transformation.

In addition to their partnerships, Hill Country themself is planning to plant 100 new churches in their city over the next 10 years. These will include many different types of churches, a variety of models, and diverse ethnic and cultural focus'.

Hill Country has a 4-phase plan that includes vision-casting & recruitment, immersion & assessment, residency training, residency pre-launch preparation, and a 2-year post-launch coaching plan. If you would like to know more about their plan contact me at or contact their church planting director John Herrington at Hill Country Bible Church (

Friday, June 08, 2007

What is Church Planting All About?

This week was a very encouraging week for me. This week I learned of 2 of my church planters, both in the pre-launch phase, who saw people come to faith in Christ! That's what this is all about! These 2 planters are going to be able to celebrate baptisms either before or immediately after they launch their church. Who know, maybe on launch Sunday they will celebrate baptism.

The most important thing that church planters need to be doing in the pre-launch phase is evangelism! They must be building relationships with people who are far from God, praying for open doors, and initiating conversations that can lead to the gospel. They must also be training and encouraging their core teams in evangelism as well. Church planting is about taking the gospel to people who have not yet come to faith in Christ.

We do not need to force anything are try to manipulate something to happen. We just need to be praying, be obedient the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and be good conversationalists. Of course we need to know the truth of the gospel but sharing it can be as simple as telling our story. Everybody has a story, but not everyone's story has intersected with God's story. Listen to their story, then share your story. Train your people to do the same. That's what church planting is about!