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Why We Assess Potential Replanters

Why We Assess Potential Replanters

Why We Assess Potential Replanters

Over the past several years, we have found great value in our intentional process to build a network of assessed and equipped leaders being sent to hard places of ministry in South Carolina.

Here are few reasons why we assess our potential replanters.

We believe in affirming God’s work in future leaders.
As a state convention and assessment team, we have the privilege of affirming what God is doing in the lives of the candidates and their sending church. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the local church to develop and send future revitalization pastors and replanters, but many of these churches are healthy and unfamiliar with the skills required to lead an at-risk church toward a future hope. So, utilizing an assessment team of experienced revitalization pastors, replanters, and wives several years into to their revitalization journey, they can lend strength as practitioners to help determine a candidate’s readiness and growth opportunities. From wisdom, the team can make recommendations and affirm the characteristics of each candidate and his spouse before they assume lead pastoral duties in a struggling church often with one shot for surviving the by-products of past unhealth. It is a privilege for the team to have an opportunity to come alongside the local church and affirm what God is doing in each candidate.

We are all continually learning and growing.
Utilizing a two-day environment to explore a wide array of competencies and characteristics through conversation and presentations, we transparently foster a continual learning posture for replanters to adopt as they begin their new ministry. Every leader needs to remain a learner, so humbly the assessment team shares their experiences of past failures and wisdom from the trenches to emphasize the need for continual development. Sanctification and skill development never ends, so why not set our future leaders on the right trajectory from the beginning? Every assessment retreat results in individualized recommendations for each candidate and his wife to continue learning, growing, and being changed by God as they finalize their preparation to lead well.

The work is hard and isolating.
Ministry is hard, period. Ministry in an at-risk that hasn’t been healthy for 20+ years is a battleground with unmarked landmines and sniper shots from an unseen enemy. Pastors will naturally retreat to isolation in revitalization work either because there is so much to be done that they have no time to meet with another pastor, or their fear of man keeps them in the bunkers. Seasoned replanters and revitalization pastors will readily tell you how much they needed someone to walk with them as they sacrificed for the sake of the church that called them and the community they love, but often they failed to make time to call a co-laborer. So, before a replanter is installed at any church, we surround them and their wives with other practitioners and leaders who understand the work. Like a graduation class, candidates are knit together over the course of two days and the events that follow assessment. Like an induction ceremony, replanters and prayed for, loved well, and encouraged to persevere with the support of veterans with real ministry scars. The work of strengthening churches is hard, but we don’t have serve in isolation.

We want to clear the runway for future partnerships and referrals.
Assessment retreat makes it easy to connect replanters and partner churches because we have taken time to get to know every candidate deeply and hear his vision for pastoral ministry in an at-risk church. We have spent hours in conversation before the retreat, we’ve met with the sending church leadership, we explored his current gift utilization and ministry, and then we’ve put every candidate before a team of practitioners to talk about their marriage & family, spiritual & emotional health, missional engagement, etc. While we won’t fully know everything about the candidates, we will have a greater confidence to recommend called and affirmed candidates through our process. This saves pastors from having to complete their own assessment before becoming a financial or resource partner.

The assessment process also prepares replanter candidates to taxi to the runway for recommendation to an at-risk church that is currently in a consultation process. Like a plane that have been fueled and checked for flight readiness, an assessed replanter can roll to the runway awaiting a call from a prepared church. The candidate and church will then be introduced to one another with hopes of extending a call to the replanter. The church can trust that the candidate has been through an assessment that surpasses many pastoral search processes and commit to following him toward a hopeful future.

Full disclosure – Not every candidate that completes assessment is ready for recommendation and not every church consultation receives a recommended replanter. Sometimes candidates are encouraged to continue their residency process or consider other options other than reSTARTing churches. At times, churches are not ready to make the changes that a replanter will lead as he seeks to begin a new work in an established location. Our team trusts and depends on the Holy Spirit to guide us as we make every recommendation.

There are many other reasons why we assess potential replanters and by no means is our process perfect. We do believe it is healthy or at least healthier for both the replanter couple and the church they will serve. Most of our churches receiving a recommendation to reSTART have one shot at hiring their next pastor. A misstep will lead to their closure, so it is our prayer that all the time and effort we invest in assessment will be used of God to restore vitality and mission to any church that calls and follows the leadership of an assessed replanter.

Could God be calling you as a replanter? We’d love to hear your story and help you prepare to answer God’s call to serve as an assessed replanter. Check out our prospective leader page to learn more and see the step by step process we recommend for future revitalization pastors and replanters seeking to serve in South Carolina.

Could God be calling you to develop a future replanter or revitalization pastor through a residency process? We’ve love to hear from you and help you invest in young men called to serve God’s Church. Send our team an email at

Let’s keep advancing together until every church is stronger and every community is saturated with the hope of the Gospel.

  • James Nugent

    James Nugent

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