Summary: Many churches have failed to grow due to poor communications. One man came from the U.S. to teach principles of communication in management to ECWA leaders, but he failed to communicate. He knew all the proper theories, but he failed to show understandi

How To Gain Support From Christian Leaders

for Church Planting Projects

Learning Objectives

1. The students will explain why it is important to establish rapport with leaders.

2.The students will explain how to approach local leaders in seeking their support for planting and growing churches.

Introduction - Many churches have failed to grow due to poor communications. One man came from the U.S. to teach principles of communication in management to ECWA leaders, but he failed to communicate. He knew all the proper theories, but he failed to show understanding of the real problems of the church.

In similar ways, when we are seeking support for church planting projects, missions, or outreach assistance, we must begin by understanding the real problems of the leaders of the church. To fail to show a willingness to listen is to guarantee our inability to be heard. Let us ask the Lord for wisdom in understanding the best ways to approach leaders for their support in church planting projects!

I. Establish Rapport With Leaders

A. Gaining confidence, trust, and credibility with leaders is the first step to communications.

B. By spending time with leaders, you will begin to understand their problems concerns, needs, and perceptions.

C. By showing your willingness to serve you will prove your faithfulness in the little things so that you will be seen as potentially faithful over more responsibilities. (Lk. 16:10)

Example - One seminary graduate found a job as an assistant Pastor of a large village church. Instead of showing the people that he could preach better than the old senior Pastor, he spent much of his first few months expressing gratitude to God for what had already been accomplished in the church. He gave much of the credit to the Pastor and the elders. It was not long when the Pastor was asking his opinion on important decisions.

Within two years the senior Pastor retired and the young man assumed position of Senior Pastor of a 1,500 member church with the people solidly behind him!!!

II. Ask the Leaders For Their Ideas Before Presenting Yours

A. Pose questions to leaders about what they think would be the best ways to go about solving a certain problem.

B. Be willing to listen and use some of their ideas in your planning.

C. Demonstrate a learner’s attitude in listening to their counsel. (Prov. 15:22)

Example - One missionary discovered that some of the local ``so-called’’ Christian churches were accusing him of drinking human blood during their communion services to scare people away from the small ECWA church. When he went visiting people in the community he found that most people were frightened away from coming to the ECWA church thinking that he will take their blood away for sacrificial purposes. When the missionary asked for help, one policeman, warned the people against spreading false rumors and the trouble stopped. God used a Christian leader to thwart the work of scorners.

III. Ask the Leaders’ Help in Defining Your Problems

A. Begin with goals rather than with specific details of your problems. This helps the leaders to see the overall picture. Do not beat around the bush, get to the point.

B. Ask for help in identifying the main hindrances that are preventing you from progressing.

C. Ask the leaders for contributions about understanding the root causes for the lack of support, problems related to church planting, or cross-cultural difficulties.

D. Be discerning about how much information and to whom you reveal the details to. ``Many a man proclaims his loyalty, but a trustworthy man who can find?’’ (Prov. 20:6)

Example - Several years ago, a missionary went to Plateau D.C.C. to ask for the Chairman’s help in understanding why there were not any more English sections in Jos. After, many hours of discussions, the Chairman asked the missionary to come to the D.C.C. counsel meeting to present the needs for starting new churches and especially new English sections in Jos. After the presentation, Kantiyok Tukura, the Deputy Director the Evangelical Missionary Society, reinforced what had been said in more culturally relevant ways. He told the delegates of urban church planting efforts that he participated with in Australia. He cautioned the leaders that unless they were willing to allow English sections to start in Jos, ECWA may lose many of its youth to the world.

Within months a committee was appointed to make recommendations on how Plateau D.C.C. could start new English sections effectively. Today, the recommendations have been accepted. By 1992, every Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo section of ECWA churches in Jos are to have accompanying English sections!

IV. Ask For Help in Assembling Facts About Starting a Church in the Leaders’ Area.

A. It could be that the leader is acquainted with several seed families who may be able to help start new churches in the area you are working.

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