<image courtesy of oddstock>
As I’ve spoken to people who have experienced the Assessment Center, and to people who are a little timid about going—I’ve been struck by the discussion on how nervous they were in coming into Assessment. You can count me among them: part of being nervous is the fear of the unknown, and part of it has to do with a misconception of ‘how much is riding’ on a person’s performance. Here are some things which might help in settle your own nerves if you’re thinking of attending.
First of all, the Assessment Center is not the end-all of church planting. There’s a fear that enters when we think of being assessed as pass/fail or somehow having to perform well in order to ‘advance.’ The assessors make it very clear that their assessment is simply a recommendation; whatever agency the potential planter will be working with still has to make the call about who will be planting and what that will look like within their own paradigm. As said before, I personally think your best bet is to view any kind of assessment as a tool for discerning how God wired you… so a ‘red light’ shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Secondarily, only the potential lead planter is being assessed. Sarah (my wife) and the spouse of another potential planter both expressed a fear that they might some how ‘wreck’ the experience for their husbands, “What if he gets approved, but I don’t?” Now, part of Assessment is an evaluation of relationship health if you’re married, and that evaluation is important. But Sarah’s ‘role’ in all of this was definitely to participate, to answer some questions, and for this to be ‘our’ thing rather than ‘mine’… but she was not the one being assessed. Spouses, if you are not the one feeling led to be a lead planter, there’s no sense of ANY pressure on you. Just be there, love your husband/wife, and walk through it together.
Finally, there is no sense that if you assess well then you MUST plant a church. As the title of this site indicates, I’m aware we’re all on a journey; maybe CPAC or something like it is part of your journey, but even a strongly positive assessment doesn’t mean you must do something. As with anything, though, be open… and be ready for God to blow the lid off whatever box you’ve been operating within. He likes doing that; and he’s very, very good at it.