The first time I ever considered planting a church was when I was in undergrad – I followed the journey that my youth pastor from middle school was taking as he planted with Stadia and thought that someday I might like to do the same. It wasn’t long after that I started working full time at an established church and honestly forgot all about planting.
In 2013 my father mentioned to me in a conversation that he had always thought that God wanted me to be a church planter – I was quite happy in my current context and told him that while I appreciated his thoughts, he did not know everything! #iwaswrong
Fast-forward to 2016 when my personal journey with church planting began – those two previous thoughts were some of what fueled my interest in pursuing planting as a possibility. However, even with having the desire to start something new as well as the encouragement of someone who knew me best I still wasn’t sure that I had what it took to move forward and be successful. That is when I discovered Church Planting Assessment Center (CPAC) through Stadia.
I was told that CPAC would help me with the confirmation and clarity regarding my calling to plant, my aptitude to plant, and my readiness to plant. This is what I was looking for; A way to receive unbiased and unfiltered feedback as to this decision that I felt I needed to make.
When my wife and I decided to submit to the CPAC process there was a weight that was lifted from each of us. We knew that we had a desire to plant but we also knew that we were church planting newbs and really didn’t know the first thing about planting a church. Stadia gave us a clear and defined process by which we could discover together the answers to our most pressing questions regarding our calling, aptitude, and readiness.
Once our CPAC dates were on the calendar, flights were booked, hotel was taken care of and our kids had a place to stay while we were gone we started what was for me the longest period of waiting in my entire life! I looked all over the internet for Stadia CPAC insights, tips, tricks, advice, pictures…ANYTHING I could find that would tell me what to expect when I go there. I found absolutely nothing!!! Simply a few short paragraphs on Stadia’s website that gave the most general description one could ask for!
Going into CPAC I had no idea what to expect. The few folks I spoke with who had been through the entire process before would only say things like “Get some rest before you go” or “don’t worry about it, you will be fine…or you won’t.” Clearly, I have the best of friends and connections.
While I can’t go into specifics, I will say that it was one of the greatest yet most challenging experiences of my life. There were moments that I was challenged to rethink, challenged to rethink my rethink, and yes even challenged to rethink my rethink’s rethink. It is amazing what you can learn about yourself when you invest the time and are willing to accept honest feedback. My wife and I learned so much about ourselves as a team as well as individuals that I wouldn’t trade it for 6 days and 7 nights in the Bahamas. It was phenomenal! I say that not because everyone in the process thought we were amazing and could do no wrong – but because we weren’t amazing at everything and we did PLENTY of wrong. But, people were amazingly honest and kind about it. They were ridiculously helpful and encouraging. We learned that we could trust their thoughts, rebukes, encouragements and insight. Ultimately, this process helped answer our questions as well as gave us confidence in the results of our time in the CPAC process.
Once you have been through the entirety of CPAC, from the first interview over the phone to the last sit down at CPAC, you are able to look at how God uses this process to teach you things that you possibly had ignored before. You see God at work throughout the process and there is no doubt that you are better for it.
For Brooke and I, CPAC and our partnership with Stadia became the launching point for us to plant Foundation in Newnan, GA. There is no doubt that after CPAC we had confirmation in our calling, our aptitude and our readiness. All of the self doubt and unanswered questions about ourselves had been answered. Answered by God through Godly leaders that invested in us with the hope that together we would find the answers to those three questions –
1. Were we called to plant a church? Answer: YES
2. Did we have the aptitude to plant a church? Answer: YES
3. Were we ready to plant a church? Answer: YES
After CPAC we had our answers – the only question left was from God to us – will you be obedient? Answer: YES!
Since planting in January 2018 I have since sent 3 additional staff members through CPAC prior to bringing them on as paid staff. I can honestly say that it is the greatest investment in terms of time and resources that a Lead Pastor could make prior to hiring a staff member. The amount of feedback and action items that are given as a result of the process sets not only the staff member but the church staff as a whole on a healthy trajectory going forward.
My wife and I will be forever grateful for what God did through our CPAC experience. As individuals and as a team we are better for it.
Graduated from Point University (Atlanta Christian College) in 2008 with a degree in Biblical Studies then from Liberty University in 2015 with a Masters in Leadership, Clint is passionate about character, growth, and the Atlanta Braves. He is marred to his wife Brooke and has 2 completely normal yet perfectly rambunctious children: Emerson and Hadley.Clint Nolder