Church Planting Assessment Network

A note from European Leadership Forum Director, Greg Pritchard: 

In order to see fruitful chuch plants thriving across Europe, we must take necessary, biblical steps to selecting and equipping church palnters. The Acts 29 movement, which currently includes over 700 churches all over the world, believes that assessment is a key component of church planting.  Philip Moore, European Director for Acts 29, and his team will teach a richly biblical assessment process and train leaders in how to implement the process to assess and prepare potential church planters.

2019 European Church Planting Assessment Network

The assessment of church planters is a necessary and biblical stage in church planting. It has objective and subjective aspects and requires deep knowledge of the planter, the biblical criteria for assessment, and the context and culture of the future church plant. In this Network, we examine how to put together an excellent assessment process that takes into account all of these factors. We will talk about how to train assessors as well as do some elementary training. We will have the opportunity, with the Foundations of Church Planting Network in parallel, to do some initial assessment of potential planters.

Participants in this track should have some current or future responsibility for the oversight of church-planting initiatives in their church, denomination, mission, or network. They will have some experience in Christian ministry, although it need not be in church planting specifically. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.



Philip Moore has been pastoring and planting churches in the east of Paris for the past 12 years. He is currently European director for Acts 29, working to build relationships between local church-planting churches and church planters all over Europe. With over 50 countries and a population of over 700 million people the European continent, once the most Christianized in the world, is now a mission field. It is Philip’s privilege, as European director of A29, to see what God is doing in our continent, and to encourage church–planting initiatives from Ireland to Turkey, from Denmark to Italy through assessment, coaching, training, and supporting of church planters and church–planting churches. Philip is married to Rachel, and they have 5 children.



J. D. Gilmore was born in Italy, where his parents were missionaries. God’s grace opened his eyes to the good news of the gospel as a teenager. J. D. and his wife are passionate about the spread of the gospel in Italy, where they have been involved in church planting for many years. He now coordinates Impatto (Acts 29 in Italy) as well as being involved in setting up gospel-centred movements in Italy and the Balkans.




Gary Cousins is originally from Northern Ireland but is now based in the Black Forest region of Germany. After several years serving as a Baptist pastor in N. Ireland, Gary served for eight years with the children’s mission-agency ‘CEF Europe’ — initially providing resources and training for ministry to teenagers, progressing to leader of the training department for Western Europe, and in the final two years working internationally to pioneer and facilitate a leadership training course for leaders in 190 countries. In 2016, being convinced of the importance of making disciples through the planting of healthy churches, Gary joined the staff at Acts 29 Europe. Gary’s role is to provide operational leadership to the Europe network as well as to oversee the assessment of applicants. In his spare time Gary enjoys trail running and is a volunteer firefighter. Gary is married to Claudia, and they have two teenage boys.



Day 1

Is Assessment Biblical?

Emphatically yes. Assessment is all through Scripture - and we are often surprised at how God assesses people and situations! And assessment is explicitly commanded when it comes to those who will lead churches (and church plants) and those who will assist them (deacons). Not only may we assess, we must. The number one factor which will determine the success or otherwise of a church plant is the fittedness of the planter for the task.

Who Should Assess – How Can They Be Trained?

In the early church, the assessment which took place was a combination of local people being canvassed for their view on a person and people from outside the context of the assessment (like Titus or Paul). In today’s complicated landscape, there is a place and a benefit to following this example. From contemporary examples, we will see how good training of both categories results in healthy assessment.

Day 2

Who Should Be Assessed – How Can They Be Prepared?

This is a crucial question. The needs are so great in our continent that we are tempted to take anyone with a pulse and a heart for God and send them to plant a church! But is this wise? Are there biblical guidelines for who should plant a church or be part of a church-planting team? Are there ways in which we can provide a culture and context so that people can move towards the point where they can be positively recommended for church planting?


What Is Being Assessed: Character

In the pastoral epistles, Paul lays out what we should look for both in terms of those who should lead churches and those who should help lead - and the overwhelming majority of things he is looking for concern our character transformed by the gospel. So we must assess character as a priority. How many ministries and churches have collapsed because of unaddressed character flaws and moral failures of the leaders?

Day 3  

What Is Being Assessed – Competency

The focus on character does not mean we neglect competency or gifting. The character is the vehicle on which the gifting and competency travel. And so what are the competencies that church planters should have? How should they be complemented by gifting in co-leaders and core-team members? How can we test these competencies thoroughly?

What Does a Good Assessment Process Look Like?

A good assessment process will take all these factors into account. It will make use of modern communication technology to streamline processes. It will take local knowledge of the person into account. It will look at past success to predict future success. It will include relational and residential components. It will be costly, difficult, and time-consuming - but it will be worth it 100 times over because at the end, there will be a qualified, competent, humble church planter and team ready to change the world.

Day 4

What Do Good Assessment Outcomes Look Like?

All assessments need to be able to say no. It is not loving to the planter, the family of the planter, the core team, the future converts, or anybody to give the green light to someone who is not qualified, either in character or competency, to plant. All assessments need to be able to say wait; sometimes the best thing to do is to work on some aspects of the plan or the person before pressing go. All assessments need to be able to say yes in an encouraging, emboldening way so that the planter and the team go into the harvest field with deep faith and confidence in God.

How Can You Follow Up Well on a Good Assessment?

Assessment without follow-up is unloving and ineffective. Assessment reveals strengths and weaknesses in the plan and in the person that are part of an ongoing story. The assessment is not an end in itself. Assessment should be followed up by expert coaching, opportunities for further learning and networking, training, and support and the sense that, locally and globally, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses working with us to the glory of God in the preaching of the gospel and the planting of churches.


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