As a former church planter, coach, and trainer of church planters, and assessment team member in several church planter assessment centers, I highly value the need and importance of a CPAC. Here are 10 reasons why every aspiring church planter needs to go through the experience of a church planter assessment center.
A CPAP includes a number of assessors who can observe your planting skills and help you discern God's will for starting a new church. My most recent experience as an assessor in a Converge network CPAC with 10 candidate couples also included 19 other assessors.
If you are married, a successful CPAP requires that your spouse fully participates with you. Spousal participation in the assessment is as important as spousal participation and partnership in the ministry of church planting and multiplication.
An assessment center lasts 3-4 days. Successful observation and assessment by a team of godly, trained people require you to experience several days of different kinds of individual and group experiences with your use of a variety of skillsets.
A CPAC enables assessment team members to adequately evaluate a number of characteristics, personality and leadership traits, and skillsets when the candidates demonstrate and use them in realistic church planting scenarios. The experience will also include tests and inventories of personality, leadership styles, preferred style of relationships, and how their personalities and leadership styles and preferences affect others.
CPACs use an assessment grid of characteristics of successful church planters to evaluate and predict the success of church planting candidates. These characteristics come from years of study and assessments, so are valid and reliable in predicting future performance of church planting candidates.
When you go through a CPAC as a couple, upon completion you receive a report and an exit interview that reveals what the assessment team discovers about you during your experience at the CPAC. Your next steps are suggested.
The final CPAC report reveals to you one of three ratings by the assessment team. The assessors may give you a ready-to-go signal meaning you may begin a church planting ministry immediately in your preferred ministry setting. They may also recommend to you conditions that should be completed before your work of planting begins. Or the assessment team may not recommend that you pursue a church planting ministry.
Recommendations or suggestions given to you by the assessment team may prove to be invaluable to as a couple. The recommendations and suggestions should be taken as wise counsel from those who know church planting and ministry as church planters.
Couples who attend a church planting assessment center often find sweet fellowship and encouragement from others who are seeking God's will about church planting. Lifelong relationships can develop and even ministry partnerships can occur. You may meet new friends that can become prayer supporters or even initial staff team members for your new church.
Many couples discover that the experience of going through an assessment center can provide sweet times of prayer together and deep conversations about their personalities, strengths, areas of their relationship that need some coaching or counseling, and their next steps toward God's intended ministry for them. The CPAP can even become a kind of marriage enrichment experience for you. You might also discover prayer partners and coaches.
Contact your denomination or preferred church planting network for church planter assessment information. I especially recommend Converge's Church Planter Assessment Center experience (https://converge.org/church-planting/assessment).
If you have found your experience in a CPAC to be helpful, reply with a description of what benefits you received.