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February 16, 2016

Is There a Recruitment Secret Sauce For Church Planting?

By Bill Hogg

I sat in a delightful Italian restaurant with a seasoned leader and mentor. We were catching up and he was keen to hear about the state of church planting in Canada and my role with the C2C Network. He quizzed me about C2C’s values and best practices.

My friend asked, as we worked on our Caesar salads, “What is your recruitment strategy?”

Colonel Sanders apparently went to the grave ensuring that his secret KFC ingredient was under lock and key. The old Colonel used to advertise that the chicken had 11 herbs and spices. While not the finest of culinary fare, we were supposed to be left guessing in the dark what the mystery ingredients were.

My dining companion wanted to know the C2C secret sauce that gave us our recruitment mojo. This is how I responded, “It is not a secret. It is rather simple yet profound. We don’t recruit planters – we pray!”

I shared this with my old friend and he responded, “Yes, but what is your recruitment strategy?” He repeated himself, “How do you recruit church planters?” And then again, I repeated myself. “We don’t recruit, coax, cajole or tap prospective planters on the shoulder – we pray.”

Specifically, we at C2C have dialed into an ancient exhortation from the LORD Jesus: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2)

One of the huge needs in post-Christian or pre-Christian Canada is the deployment of gospel-centered leaders who will follow Jesus on mission and plant churches. Jesus indicated to the attentive 72 that they were in a glorious day of opportunity: “The harvest is plentiful.” At the same time he indicated that the primitive Jesus movement was suffering a personnel crisis, “The workers are few.” His prescription was to pray!

In light of this, our team from coast to coast, across Canada, set their phone alarms and watches to 10:02. At 10:02 we ask the LORD of the harvest to call out workers into the harvest fields. We might be in a coaching meeting at the Chapel of St. Arbucks and if the alarm goes off, we pray. We might be in a room full of leaders. Sometimes we stop proceedings and call the gathering to prayer. Other times we will take this as a cue for silent intercession.

We pray that Jesus will disrupt market place and ministry leaders and that they will hear his summons and invitation to plant the gospel. We pray that these leaders will be led by and empowered by the Spirit, that God will use them to make much of Jesus and the Lord of the harvest will provide the resources to get the job done.

My pal Jacques Avakian, sets his phone at 9:38 to follow the Matthean exhortation: “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:38). Either way – we need to pray!

I would say that the dominant North American ecclesial motif is Church as human enterprise. There is a danger that you and I can succumb to viewing the enterprise of church planting as an exercise in Vorsprung durch Technik. This phrase was used in Audi commercials aired in the UK with the voice over work done by the buttery voiced Geoffrey Palmer. The beautiful high performance vehicles were touted as a triumph of German engineering with the phrase meaning “progress through technology,” as explained in this interview.

Here, ministry is technology and the leader is a technician.

We need to remind ourselves of the probing words of Jesus who declared to his team “…apart from me me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Prayer is a posture we adopt.

Prayer is a practice that we cultivate.

Prayer is our power source!

“Lord, teach us to pray!”


Bill Hogg

Dr. Bill Hogg’s passion is proclaiming the beauty, power, and truth of the good news of Jesus and equipping others to share the gospel. Bill is available as a training resource to inspire, equip, and coach leaders, church plants, and established faith communities to follow Jesus into their respective mission fields. He offers a variety of equipping resources and experiences to help ignite the fires of evangelism. Bill is a former radio host and has served as a pastor, professor, evangelist, and a movie extra! He was involved in pioneer evangelism in his native Scotland where he launched Youth for Christ. He is part of the Arrow Leadership Ministries faculty, offering congregational and Para-church leaders training in evangelism. His doctoral research focused on leadership approaches to the missional renewal of established congregations. Hogg is a published author who has written books on prayer and on youth culture and is currently writing an evangelism primer. Bill is married to his sweetheart, Morag and has two amazing adult kids, Naomi and Peter. Bill and Morag both enjoy being Mackenzie’s grandparents. Demonstrating how ambidextrous he is, Bill enjoys both real football (“soccer” to North American Philistines) and NFL. He is a Man United and Seattle Seahawks fan. Bill and Morag have recently discovered the joy of snow shoe walking. Bill is a movie buff and admits to being a fan of Master Chef and Kitchen Nightmares. He enjoys grocery shopping and browsing in bookstores while savoring gourmet coffee.


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