Developing a Farm System

The Chicago Cubs are 2-0 to start the season and after last season, the expectations are sky-high on the north side.  When first hired by the team as the president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein did a complete overhaul of the team, spending much of his energy and emphasis building the talent pool in the farm system deeper and stronger.  His approach was to build the team from the inside.  It’s a long-view approach and Epstein thought it would take five years to see positive results.  He was hired by the Cubs after showing remarkable ability in taking this approach with the Boston Red Sox (and they won two World Series rings).  Now, he has put many of the pieces in place to bring the same result to the north side.  (Time will tell, but the depth of the roster is impressive.)

Seeing this approach lived out caused me to reflect on the importance of a quality “feeder program” for church planting.  If we want to plant more churches, we must develop a farm system that will help grow talent already in our systems.  The systems I am thinking about are the churches already in existence across Chicagoland.  I believe there are future church planters, worship leaders, children’s ministers, small group leaders and administrators sitting in churches right now waiting to be developed.  What are we doing to move people along?

I took a course a few years ago called “Raising Leaders for the Harvest”.  Written by Bob Logan and Neil Cole, it detailed some of the steps that need to be taken if we want to gather, train and deploy workers for new churches. Observing the success of Theo Epstein with the Cubs fills me with questions and reflections.

  • What if Ignite could catalyze a farm system for new church leaders in Chicagoland?
  • What if we could develop leaders who would become key staff in new churches?
  • What if we could have a ready list of people to “call up” when a need arose?

A farm system for leaders is something that must happen if we are going to multiply new churches across the region.  We need a “Theo Epstein” who understands what needs to be done and can help create the system.  My dream is to have “unprecedented depth” (words used by one reporter to describe the Cubs) as we move church planting forward.


About lancehurley

Executive Director of Ignite Church Planting: Chicagoland
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