CHURCH PLANTING COURSE

North American syllabus

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The Great Commission is to take the gospel to neighborhoods and the nations. The timeless and primary New Testament strategy for this is church planting. Planting churches is hard. Planting healthy churches is harder. Repeating the process on a regular basis is harder still. Jesus must be driving it from start to finish. From a human perspective, four things need to be in play to plant a healthy church: a called and capable leader, a core team, finance, and various types of meaningful support from a church and/or movement of churches such as Advance.

ACPC exists to help produce the first of these four things – called and capable church plant leaders. ACPC is also suitable for those who may soon take over the leadership of an existing church or ‘site.’ To ensure the course is focused, and to ensure participants are at a similar ‘level,’ applicants must stand a very good chance of either planting or leading a church within the next two to three years. (We are also open to inquiries from those who have recently planted and leaders of existing churches). ACPC is not for everyone. It is for those who are eager to be equipped for churches that are Gospel-centered, mission focused, disciple-making, Spirit-empowered, and elder-led (the five primary values of Advance churches).

Objectives

ACPC has a specific focus, namely to equip and inspire participants in the essential skills and attitudes for church planting and church leadership. Although it involves theology, it is not a theological course per se. Although it contains modules on soul care and marriage and parenting, the responsibility for personal and family discipleship lies with the local church that the applicant is part of. ACPC pursues the following objectives:

  • Character: We intend to give tools for developing spiritual, emotional, and marital health. These tools will be necessary for the duration of the planting journey.
  • Calling: We consider the course to be an ongoing assessment and strengthening of calling to plant or lead a church.
  • Competencies: The course gives participants opportunity to learn, practice, and develop core church planting competencies. However, it is assumed that participants are actively developing as evangelists, disciplers, and leaders in their local church.
  • Context: We aim to equip participants to think and act contextually, approaching their context as a missionary.
  • Community: We expect that you will become friends with your cohort, and steadily build relationships with other leaders who teach and participate in ACPC.

Format of the course

ACPC is a two-year course, comprised of twelve modules. There are four components:

Personal Study
each week you will be expected to read and/or watch/listen to various experts on the topics we are exploring. Periodically you will be given projects to practice implementing what you are learning, such as: have a gospel-conversation with a neighbor or write two paragraphs describing your culture’s greatest fear.

Cohort Collaboration
you will be expected to communicate consistently (at least weekly) with other participants via messaging apps. The aim is to build friendships and to learn by communicating what you have been reading, hearing, and doing. We anticipate about 2—3 hours per week for study and collaboration.

Intensives
three times each year, participants will meet for four days of building relationships and being trained. These meetings will take place in both established and newly planted churches so that you can see church development in various stages. Intensives will include a significant amount of input from experienced planters and leaders, as well as adequate time for conversation, relationship formation, and practical outworking of the material. For most intensives, each participant will be expected to teach or lead a discussion (in order to practice these skills and enrich the group). Connection with Advance: to help you connect with and understand the mission of Advance, we will plan at least one cross-cultural trip. Participants will also serve at various regional gatherings.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Step 1
Send an email to the North American coordinator, Tom Tapping at na.acpc@advancemovement.com

Step 2
We will then send you an Application Form for you to complete and return, and a Recommendation Form for your Lead Elder to complete and return (send completed documents to acpc@advancemovement.com).

Step 3
We will consider your application, which may involve a follow-up phone call with either you or your lead elder. If you are accepted onto ACPC, we will send you the materials and information to make payment and begin the course.