dive deep into dcpi's numbers
We’ve researched our church planters’ success.
DCPI has done extensive research in multiple zones throughout the world to track the success of our church planting training. To do this, we monitored the success of the leaders we trained in specific zones for five years to see how many churches they planted, how many people they led to Christ in each church, and how long it took them to do this. Our research was independently review and structured by Michael Jaffarian – a consultant to non-profits with an emphasis on research.
Let us explain a bit about our numbers
As you’ve seen, the average DCPI-trained leader plants 2.55 churches within the first five years after attending a training. These churches lead, on average, 40 people to Christ each. Let’s dig into what else we know about this…
Some people are not called to plant a church.
The more we monitored DCPI trainees over the years, the more we took note that some of our trainers never went on to plant a church. This is actually not alarming to us at all because we teach our trainees to seek God for a vision for their church, and we encourage them to be sure that they have a church panting calling before pursuing church planting. So, we only want the men and women specifically called by God to be the ones leading teams and starting churches. Obviously, this number lowers our average number of churches planted per leader trained, but many leaders we train actually plant two, twenty, sometimes hundreds of churches!
Some people are called to plant MANY churches.
Our research also showed a large portion of our trainees planting MULTIPLE CHURCHES. So, when it all averaged out, the average number of churches a DCPI-trained leader plants is 2.55. That is across the board in all of our world zones. Yes, some of our world zones experience much higher numbers of churches planted per leader trained. For example in India, house church panting is the primary method of church planting, and they average at least 10 churches planted per leader trained. In other world zones, like North America, we find that leaders often plant only one church, then that church works to train more leaders and plant daughter churches.
Within FIVE years of attending DCPI training.
But, just as no one starts a business overnight, no church should start overnight. We teach our leaders to timeline out all of their pieces to starting their church, and it can take months or years to get a church started. This is why our research monitored leaders for five years after DCPI training. Most DCPI leaders directly plant churches themselves then go on to help other leaders with daughter church planting. We only count leaders and the churches they’ve directly planted, not daughter churches that their mentees have planted. For direct church plants per leader, we get the average of 2.55 churches/leader.
Our Research Consultant: Michael Jaffarian
Michael Jaffarian is a consultant to nonprofits who emphasizes research. He helps with impact assessment, program evaluation, and strategic planning. He also research and write investment prospectuses for use with major donors. He served as the executive director of a thriving nonprofit in Singapore, as a professional researcher for 30 years, and as a writer and publisher with 180+ articles and book contributions in the field. Michael helped DCPI with extensive evaluation and verification of our research projects around the globe. He helped DCPI make sure that our research was accurate and interpreted correctly.
Let us explain a bit about our growth projections
As you’ve seen, we train a lot of leaders every year. We actually have already outlined what we expect to see in the next 10-15 years.
We built our model with a NASA engineer.
When we started training church planters in the 1990s, we knew that we would be able to grow exponentially, but we did not know what factors to consider when mapping out our training goals for each year. So, we sat down with a friend of DCPI named Frank DeMattia, who was an engineer at NASA, who helped put a man on the moon. Frank helped us pull all of the numbers together to consider our staff and volunteer capacity, global/local population growth, capabilities of distributing materials and certifying trainers, and so many more factors. When he crunched the numbers, we ended up with a master plan of how many leaders we would need to/be able to train per year.
The Master Plan was 99% accurate.
To our shock, our ability to stay on-target with our training projections each year has proven to be 99% accurate. That’s even more accurate than the Apollo 11 space flight’s projections where when they put a man on the moon! Each year, we have seen an average of 20% growth in our training numbers, excluding 2020 (COVID), and we have, almost completely stayed on target for the number of leaders we train every year, and we expect it to continue! In 2023, we are aiming for 82,000 leaders trained!
Our projections aim us toward 1.6 million leaders trained.
Knowing that God had given us a vision to train leaders to plant five million churches, our team worked backward, with Frank DeMattia at the helm, to identify the number of leaders we would need to train. The number came out to 1.6 million leaders. Based on our Exponential Growth Model and Master Plan, this is on track to be accomplished by 2033 (possibly as early as 2030). As we consider that number, we are beginning to focus in on the communities without healthy, dynamic churches. These will continue to be a priority for us, so that we can make sure we’re multiplying churches that truly reach the world for Christ.
Our Projections Engineer: Frank DeMattia
Frank DeMattia is a retired NASA employee, who currently serves on DCPI’s consultant task force. He works closely with DCPI leaders doing strategic planning and projections, so that DCPI’s numbers continue to stay on target into the future.
As you’ve seen, we care a lot about church planting. But, churches around the world may look different from the church you attend every Sunday. Here are some things you may find interesting about DCPI churches…
Here is how DCPI defines a church in our trainings:
“A church is a group of believers in Christ who meet for biblical worship, learning and mission.”
A church: Sometimes the Greek word translated ” church” (EKKLESIA) refers to the universal church (all born again believers), but more commonly it refers to a local church, which is our meaning (1 Pet 2:9, 1 Cor 1:2).
is a group of believers: To be a true believer one must be “born again” (John 3:7). This distinguishes the true church from groups and cults that can wrongly label themselves a “church.”
who meet for biblical worship: Usually this means meeting at least weekly to practice singing, prayer, the Ordinances, exhorting and encouraging each other, giving, exercising spiritual gifts and other forms of worship. The goal of this worship is to glorify God. Biblical worship also seeks to fulfill the Greatest Commandments: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).
learning: Each church is to be coordinated and led by godly and gifted leaders. These leaders are commonly called “elders” (Greek PRESBUTEROS) or “shepherds” (POIMEN). A third Greek word used of the same office is EPISCOPOS which signifies managing or overseeing the manpower, money, gifts of the Spirit and other re- sources for the good of the church. Other names for church leadership gifts and offices are also mentioned in the New Testament (Ephesians 4:11-13 “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers;” Romans 12:4-8). Regardless of their office and gifting, it is clear that spiritual maturity and character should be the hallmarks of whoever is leading the church (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1). The term “elder” is always plural except for two times when it refers to the office of elder. It wasn’t until the second century that some churches had a single elder/shepherd. ” The consistent New Testament pattern is a plurality of elders.” While not all churches in Bible times paid their professional elders/shepherds enough to live on and sometimes leaders like Paul had to become “tentmakers” by earning their living in other ways, a church is charged with adequate compensation of its staff elders/shepherds (1 Timothy 5:17- 18; 1 Corinthians 9:14b). These leaders must communicate the Word and lead the congregation. Shepherds/elders, like Timothy, must “be devoted to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). Typically, there is a primary teaching and leading shepherd/elder (1 Tim 5:17) who leads a team of other lay and/or professional elders/shepherds who are “able to teach” (1 Tim 3:2) but who handle other ministry responsibilities and assist in leadership (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Thes. 5:12-13). They provide advice, partnership and accountability for each other. Sometimes there may be a team of primary teachers, as in the Antioch church (Acts 13:1). Part of the leadership role is to provide protection for the church through the correction of church discipline, (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Cor 5:4-7, 11-13; 2 Tim 4:2; Titus 2:15, 3:10; 1 Peter 5:2).
and mission: We glorify God by fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission. Every believer and every church should “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20). Thus, the church’s objective is to spread to all people the joy of knowing and serving Christ. In order to accomplish this, the pattern of Acts is to go from town to town, lead people to Jesus and plant churches where believers become mature disciples who multiply Christians and churches.
These over simplifications fail to include the FULL biblical revelation as explained above.
Notice what is not included in this definition: a church building, a choir, a denominational affiliation, stained glass, a traditional Sunday School program, a Sunday bulletin, incorporation through a constitution and by-laws. While these might prove helpful, they are not integral to a BIBLICAL definition of church.
While some try to over-complicate what a local church is, others try to over-simplify by defining it as only “the presence of Christ” or “where two or three are gathered in my name.” These over simplifications fail to include the FULL biblical revelation as explained above.
1Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 913.
2Robert Saucy, The Church in God’s Program (Chicago: Moody, 1972), 148
Here is a simplified version of our 12 Biblical Principles of Church Planting. This is included in our Church Planting Essentials training.
- THE BOSS PRINCIPLE – Christ is the Lord of church planting and He has a vision for your new church. Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 16:9-10
- THE POWER PRINCIPLE – Prayer is the indispensable source of God’s power and wisdom in each phase of church planting. Philippians 3: 7-11; Joshua 5:13-15; Colossians 4:2-4
- THE NEHEMIAH PRINCIPLE – God’s vision must lead to prayerful planning, the result of which should be a comprehensive TaskList set out upon a TimeLine. Luke 14:28; Proverbs 16:9; Proverbs 11:14
- THE BARNABAS PRINCIPLE – Every church planter needs a mentor. A mentor is someone who has been where you want to go and is willing to help you get there. Acts 11:25-26a; Acts 13:2; Acts 13,14; Acts 16:1-3; Acts 20:4
- THE TEAM LEADER PRINCIPLE – The church planting pastor is most effective as part of a team on which the planter serves as the visionary leader. Acts 13:1-3; Acts 13:2,7; Acts 13:13a
- THE MISSION PRINCIPLE – The central work of the new church will always be to help people put their trust in Christ, and grow into maturity as His followers. Luke 15; Luke 15:7; Matthew 18:18-20
- THE LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE – Leadership development lies at the heart of the new church’s mission and the most important leadership quality to develop is spiritual maturity. Ephesians 4:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Timothy 3:1-10; Titus 1:5-9
- THE BRIDGE PRINCIPLE – Understanding (and communicating sensitively to) the hearts and minds of people in the target community is essential to reaching them effectively with the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; Acts 17:22,23
- THE MAGNET PRINCIPLE – When God plants a church, there should be wide spread community awareness and interest. Matthew 5:14-16; Acts 2:5,6; Acts 2:47b; Acts 4:16b; Acts 11:20,21
- THE BALANCE PRINCIPLE – The church planter’s spiritual life, family life, and ministry life must be in biblical balance. 1 Timothy 3:4; 1 Peter 3:7; Ephesians 5:21; Ephesians 5: 25,33; Romans 7:18
- THE MULTIPLICATION PRINCIPLE – Healthy churches will reproduce and daughter church planting should be envisioned and planned from the new church’s beginning. Acts 8:1b, 4; Acts 11:21; Acts 13:1-3; Psalm 127:3-5
- THE JOSEPH PRINCIPLE – Attending to organizational and administrative matters will protect and stabilize the new church, and enable it to grow in a healthy way. Acts 6:1-4, 5, 7a; 1 Corinthians 14:40
Each church that is equipped with a DCPI trained leader is specifically set up to do outreach.
One of the principles we teach these trainees is: THE MAGNET PRINCIPLE – When God plants a church, there should be wide spread community awareness and interest. Matthew 5:14-16; Acts 2:5,6; Acts 2:47b; Acts 4:16b; Acts 11:20,21
We want them to be so involved in their communities that everyone knows there is a new church in town. They do this through meeting people (specifically we teach them to seek out the “persons of peace” in that community), caring for the needs of the community, establishing community support services: medical clinics, feeding programs, wells, cisterns, schools, etc.
As a result, DCPI trains the church planter to prayerfully seek the lord and construct a customized plan for impacting their community with the good news of Jesus that includes loving outreach in response to the needs of the people who live there.
Many of our leaders work closely with other leaders (often people they mentored) to plant daughter churches. So, they are indirectly connected to multiple churches beyond their own. We call this a “Church Planting Movement.”
Many of our trainees recognize the powerful impact DCPI training has had on their lives, and they want to pass this on to others. We have had many of our trainees volunteer to get certified to teach others. We call these Certified Trainers. Many of those who are certified trainers do this because they want to be a part of a Church Planting Movement.
One example of this was started by one of our leaders: Tony Reyes, from the Philippines, loved DCPI materials so much that he started a church multiplication network with the vision of planting not just one or a few, but 2,222 churches and 222 training centers by 2033. You can read about this movement on their website.
Another example is that of Jon Nietzell, a man from Minnesota, USA. He began with a vision to reach the St. Criox River Valley for Christ. Their team became so passionate that they want to plant churches to fill the entire river valley- starting at one mile on each side of the river, then three miles on each side of the river, then beyond. They want to plant 20+ churches in the next 10-15 years, so they started a Ministry School that uses DCPI training to train their leaders. You can read about their network here.
Yes! DCPI President, Scott Kirk, conducted a three-year research project in Tanzania to monitor the success of church planters who were constantly mentored over their first few years as church planters. The results were astounding.
Scott Kirk’s Upcoming Book explains:
“A few years ago we began praying, “God how can we do an even better job of equipping leaders to plant dynamic churches? How can be better prepare them to plant the churches that you have called them to plant?”
As we began to pray, we found that God was asking us to do something different. As we continued to pray, God brought us a special ministry in CRU (formerly Campus Crusade). We began to wonder what the impact would be if we more intentionally brought mentoring into our training.
At Dynamic Church Planting International, we believe that every leader needs a mentor. A mentor is someone who has been where you want to go and is willing to help you get there. To this end, DCPI partnered in 2017 with Cru – Global Church Movements to launch a two-year project titled “Developing a Mentoring Culture” in the East Africa region of Tanzania.
DCPI’s East Africa World Zone Leader Francis Kamau and Cru – Global Church Movement’s leadership in East Africa, Ignatius Nyaga, collaborated to select twenty-five Tanzanian church planting leaders to embark on an adventure of training and mentoring with Dynamic Church Planting International and Cru – Global Church Movements with the intent of developing a church planting movement in Tanzania. The project involved meeting together as a group every three-months for two years in order to take these leaders through four of our DCPI church planting training tracks and to meet four times in small groups to strategize and encourage them in the process of building a church planting movement.
Dr. Kamau was charged with the task of selecting five highly qualified DCPI Master Trainers who would serve as Master Trainer/Mentors of the two-year project by attending all eight of the training events, acting as trainers for the four Training Track portions of the project, and being mentors for five church planting leaders each for the four Mentoring & Reporting events of the project. Throughout the two-year project, these Master Trainer/Mentors would also intentionally mentor these leaders by supporting, encouraging, and holding these church planting leaders accountable to the challenge of leading a church planting movement throughout their region.
To our delight, this project exceeded our expectations. We projected to have twenty-five leaders for the venture, but actually twenty-seven church planting units (three husband and wife teams) joined us. We were hoping for five Master Trainer/Mentors, but wound up with six Master Trainer/Mentors, three of whom lived in Arusha, Tanzania and the other three in Nairobi, Kenya. We planned to take these leaders through four of our church planter training tracks, but actually accomplished five tracks. At the conclusion of our two-year project, over 150 bishops, pastors and church leaders from the community joined us to celebrate what God had accomplished through the project.
MOVE TO RESULTS: The impact of this two-year “Developing a Mentoring Culture” project also surpassed our hopes. Our twenty-seven church planting units planted and reported 109 churches in the two years between August 2017 and August 2019, which equals 4.04 churches planted per leader. Equally exciting is the vitality and health of these 109 new churches which include a total of 13,608 attendees combined. Twelve of these twenty-seven leaders planted 3rd generation churches and eleven of them planted 4th or more generation church plants. Through the “Developing a Mentoring Culture” project we impacted the planting of churches not only in Tanzania, but also in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Conga and Bahrain.
Church planting has been accelerated because these leaders have been mentored and have been empowered to mentor church planters themselves who in turn have been inspired to plant churches.
We are thankful to the Lord for our partnership with Cru – Global Church Movements and how powerfully the Lord moved through this project. We are also excited to see where the Lord is leading us to take this “Developing a Mentoring Culture” project together next.”
Watch a Testimonial From Missionary Charles McCaul
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We have a long history of training leaders and tracking their results. If you have any questions or concerns about DCPI’s numbers, please don’t hesitate to reach out.