Church planning

The Art of Seamless Pastoral Transition: A Guide For Church Leaders

Lee D. Kricher D.Min.
A standard practice during pastoral transitions is the appointment of an Interim Pastor, who serves for months or years between permanent (“settled”) pastors. A viable alternative is Seamless Pastoral Transition, an option that is becoming more and more common across traditions. With the goal of preserving congregational continuity and momentum, Seamless Pastoral Transition eliminates the gap in time between the service of the Outgoing Pastor and Incoming Pastor. This paper presents several Seamless Pastoral Transition case studies, about half of which are from mainline denominations, and covers three virtues to embrace and six pitfalls to avoid for church leaders in transition.

Developing an Islam Mission Strategy for Rasimpasa International Church, Istanbul, Turkey

Kwangmyeon Kim
The purpose of the project was to develop an Islam mission strategy for Rasimpasa International Church which is located in Istanbul, the political and economic center of the Islamic Republic of Turkey. For this Islam mission strategy development model, the project director first studied the areas of professional strategic planning and development for church planting and studied theories and practical application cases for Islam mission in order to establish and develop general strategic planning concerning church planting. Second, throughout the process of this study, the project director identified theoretical bases for Rasimpasa International Church to actively participate in the Islam mission ministry and developed a specific Islam mission strategy that can be applied in this situation of the church in Istanbul, Turkey. Third, the project director presented a developed Islam mission strategy for approval to selected group of leaders of Rasimpasa International Church. It also reflected the objective evaluation of experts on the achievement of the presented misistry goals and professional goals for this project. Lastly, the project director made suggestions for the deep and good practice through analysis and reflections after the preparation, and implementation and evaluation process for the Islam mission strategy development model.


Philip Schenck D.Min.
There are high expectations that a church plant grow by seeing people come to faith in Christ. Such seems to be the expectation placed upon every church plant, as evidenced in literature and conferences and denominational leaders. Experience has not born out what the church anticipated in terms of multiple and regular conversion growth. Academic research, interviews, surveys and focus groups were utilized to understand evangelism and outreach as a whole and as it pertains to the local church that was the focus of this project. Attempt has been made to determine and suggest a response or series of responses that might aid the church in its evangelistic effectiveness. Church members indicated a desire to see the church grow by conversion, but raised concerns about individual preparedness, the need for training, and overcoming fear. Community members raised questions and shared expectations of local churches and church leadership. An overall need for pastoral leadership in the area of evangelism was highlighted. The strategic plan for evangelism and outreach seeks to address the areas of concern and focus that came to light as a result of the research and study, the surveys and interviews undertaken, and conversations with members of church leadership. Is has sought to address needs represented and stated by church and community, leaves opportunity for further study and innovation and invites the involvement of every ministry team and every individual in the church.


James L. Betner D.Min.
Nothing stays the same. This inevitability of change and transition should prompt
every active lead pastor to understand that the place you stand in today may in fact be the
place another stands in tomorrow. To be fully cognizant of that reality aids in the pastor’s
ability to be able to see beyond the present and to begin thinking about and perhaps even
preparing for the unavoidable future of the present ministry. Pastoral enmeshment and the
improper views of competition in ministry must be countered with a clear understanding
of the pastor as a steward who is called to build the Lord’s kingdom, not a personal one.
Succession planning, then, must include a theology of leadership development and a clear
understanding of what a healthy pastorate looks like. There must be a mutual synergy of
pastor and people who can appreciate yesterday and today and yet still anticipate with
greater affection the possibility of tomorrow. This work identifies biblical models for
succession and offers practical methods to prepare the pastor and people for eventual
Without attention to succession planning, a church and its pastor succumbs to
being reactive at best, and negligent at worst, by waiting for a crisis to unfold as a result
of inevitable changes in leadership. However, when a proper perspective of succession is
developed for the church and the pastor, it adds stability to the mission of the church and
frees the pastor to willingly give it away at the right time.
At the core of this project is the process of the development of a succession plan
for the Delaware Valley Baptist Church of Willingboro, NJ in particular, and succession
in the Protestant congregational church in general.

The Ministry Benefits and Personal Growth that Came from Using Participatory Action Research to Develop a Workshop for Cree Mentors

Benjamin Kenneth Peltz D.Min.
This Doctor of Ministry (DMin) Research Portfolio details the author’s development as a leader throughout the program via his Leadership Narrative, Ministry Context Analysis, Project Report, and Philosophy of Leadership. His research project consisted of using Participatory Action Research (PAR) methods to develop a mentoring workshop for Cree adults. Using PAR methods caused him to revisit his assumptions and alter the way he designed and ran the workshop, which increased participants’ confidence in ways that he did not originally anticipate. This experience, alongside other elements of the DMin program and developments in his leadership responsibilities, led him to identify his calling as leading intergenerational and intercultural reconciliation using communal discernment processes. Alongside demonstrating how spiritual experiences, faithful mentors, Christian community, and formal education can enable an individual to overcome a difficult upbringing and become a capable Christian leader, this portfolio offers insights into the value of using PAR and similar processes for improving ministry endeavours in an indigenous context.

Developing a multiethnic church planting strategy for Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler, Texas, to reach interntationals in Portland, Oregon

Gregory S. Smith
The purpose of this project was to develop a multiethnic church planting strategy for Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler, Texas, to reach interntationals in Portland, Oregon. The external demographic data and common elements discovered provided the basis for which the multiethnic church planting strategy was developed. The project director utilized various information gathering resources to determine the needs of internationals and to identify common elements for effective multiethnic church planting models. The project director researched strategy planning techniques, especially strategies that focused on reaching multiethnic communities. He then led a selected planning team to develop a multifaceted strategy on how to reach the diverse ethnicities represented in Portland, Oregon. The final state of the project was for the project director to present the multiethnic church planting strategy to Green Acres Baptist Church’s church planting team for approval.

Developing a mentoring strategy for African-American church planters for the Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Steven Beckham
The purpose of this project was to offer a strategy that was used by church planters in the Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which were primarily led by African-Americans. The strategy helped the church planter with some best practices that worked for others. The strategy model found in the current New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Project in Ministry Handbook was the model used to facilitate the project.

A wide range of resources were used to gain a fundamental understanding of mentoring strategy programs across a broad spectrum of denominations. The project director utilized this information to build a mentoring strategy for the Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge
(BAGBR) and the wide array of African-American church plants that it serves. The strategy served as a training tool to guide new African-American church plants as they evolved into healthy churches.

Graceful adjustments : financial decline and staff downsizing in congregations

Michelle Collins
It’s no secret that religious institutions in the United States are facing unprecedented challenges. Membership levels, participation, and financial giving and support are shifting. Congregations often struggle to keep up with the rate of the change. Nowhere is this truer than in the financial realm, especially when they must consider downsizing their staff. This project examines classic staffing models, situations where downsizing has taken place, and a process for addressing staff transition times strategically. These help to address the challenge of how congregations can adjust with grace and thrive in the face of declining resources and changing realities.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]


Robert Grysen D.Min.
Leading in the mission of church planting is a high, challenging, and blessed assignment. It is the burden of my heart to advance this mission through the Church Multiplication Team (CMT) and her church planting partners. This process is designed to engage the CMT and her partners in a learning environment where we can be encouraged, affirmed, and better equipped to further the mission of church planting.

The effectiveness of the plan is dependent on three elements: (1) the accumulation of knowledge and experience in church planting; (2) the participation of leaders with knowledge and experiences in church planting; and (3) participation with an open heart of everyone involved in the seminar.

The project confirmed the value of a seminar setting, the worth of CMT and partner participation, and the importance of the learning that occurred as a result of the seminar.

Narratives Church: A Missional Church Planting Path for Cultivating a Unified Theological Vision

Mark Miller D.Min.
This research project focused on the development of a unified theological vision for the missional movement. The researcher conducted a thorough investigation of Scripture and current biblical material in order to discern the barriers existing within the missional movement. The researcher looked at key areas that shape the missional church planting movement: leadership development, theological interpretation of the early church, church planting methods and practice, ecclesiology, and the application and interpretation of Ephesians 4:11. Four church planting organizations participated: North American Mission Board, Acts 29 Network, Association of Related Churches, and Converge Worldwide. A questionnaire given to each movement revealed that there is indeed a disconnect from one movement to the next in terms of areas mentioned above.
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