Craig Whitney church planter catalyst for Gateway LeadersCraig Whitney is the Church Planting Catalyst for Gateway Leaders and the creator of Church Planter Cultivate.  In a recent interview he describe why Cultivate was created and how you can use it to prepare yourself or others for church planting.


Church Planter Cultivate

Why did you create Cultivate?
Because there are not enough church planters.  Over the last several decades the western church has fostered a renewed passion for church planting.  In spite of all the energy and efforts, the number of new churches needed to reach an increasingly secular culture continues to grow.  We need reliable and reproducible processes for developing a truly multiplying movement of church planting leaders.  I believe Cultivate has the potential to accomplish that.

What makes Cultivate unique?
Most of the models and methods for training church planters aren’t really training at all.  They rely on the transfer of information rather than the transformation of individuals.  Cultivate is transformational training designed to develop the habits and skills that are essential to effectively start, grow and multiply a new church.  Metaphorically, I could find a world class marathon runner and convince him to transfer to me all the information I need to know to successfully run a marathon, but I wouldn’t be any more able to run than I am right now.  Instead, I could find any successful marathoner and start running with him and if I would do that consistently I would eventually be able to run a marathon. Cultivate is that kind of training.  What really makes Cultivate unique is that once a church planter has completed Cultivate and planted a church they are fully equipped to develop another church planter.  The Cultivate training process is both transformational and reproducible.


How does Cultivate work?
Cultivate is a series of 60 experiences, each created to develop specifics aspects of knowing, being and doing that are essential to church planting.  The potential church planter accesses these experiences through the Cultivate website, tries them out in the real world with real people and then reflects on what they’ve learned in an online journal.  Each potential planter is also required to establish a relationship with a coach, who can speak into the learning process from their own church planting experience, and a champion, who can encourage and exhort the potential church planter through the inevitable highs and lows of church planting.


When does a potential church planter enroll in Cultivate?
We’ve been developing this model of training for the last 5 years.  In that time we’ve seen two models work very well.  The first scenario is what most of us know as a residency model.  A potential church planter joins a new church and completes Cultivate in that context before being sent out to start another church.  In this scenario, think of Cultivate as a turnkey ready church planting residency that could be implemented by any church that wanted to reproduce.  The second scenario is a just-in-time model.  A church planter completes Cultivate while they are starting a new church.  The experiences that are part of the training not only develop the habits and skills of the church planter, but build momentum for the new church.  In this scenario, think of Cultivate as on-the-job-training.


Tell us more about the Cultivate Project?
Our real passion is multiplying leaders.  As we thought about how to launch this new resource, we felt there was no better way than to pour into a group of passionate group of church planters.  Just as donors and partners made it possible to create Cultivate, a generous donor made it possible for us to offer 10 scholarships to potential church planters.  So we’re looking for 10 Leaders, to plant 10 churches, to reach 10 cities.  We’re hoping they will become the first of what will eventually be thousands of leaders prepared to start, grow and multiply new churches through Cultivate.