Rick Burge

The Truth About Church Planter Assessments and Building Genuine Partnerships

About The Episode

“If you can’t understand who you are, you’re probably misdiagnosing who other people are.” Meet Rick Burge, a dynamic leader and coach with a passion for identifying, developing, and mentoring high-capacity leaders. Rick walks through a detailed list of key characteristics for church planters wanting to build up healthy partnerships. From basic leadership competencies to tips for handling the pressure of planting, Rick guides us thoughtfully through this conversation of healthy church planting.

Welcome to Episode 022 of The Unfair Advantage Podcast with Mike Hickerson and David Hibiske.

Insights From Rick


  • Clear calling/preparation
  • Clear vision/mission
  • Clarity on who and where
    • What are the felt needs of the area you are planting?
  • Ability to gather people around a vision
  • Humility 
    • Do you have questions? Or do you think you have it all figured out?
  • Hunger
    • This has to do with input.
  • Hustle 
    • This has to do with output.
  • High emotional intelligence
    • Be aware of how to communicate effectively with people who are much different than you.
  • Healthy (Emotionally, spiritually, personally)
  • Happy/humorous


  • Self-awareness
  • Build a group of truth-tellers around you.


  • High level of communication
  • Ability to build teams
  • Understanding of organizational leadership and scaling up a team


  • Key question: what are you called to do?
    • Some are called to lead.
    • Some are called to lead in the home.
  • Understand how you are wired so you can avoid potential crossroads ahead.
  • How are you going to stay healthy together?


  • Identify what the situations are that cause you the biggest pain. 
    • Know your pressure points.
  • Make clear agreements on how you will handle them.
  • Proactive counseling–before there is an issue
  • Understand your kids’ personalities


  • If no one is coming with you, it’s a red flag. 
  • Key positions to identify
    • Someone who can build teams, with a focus on systems and processes–driving the mission forward naturally.


  • Mistake #1: Trying to convince a network that you have it all figured out.
    • Don’t sell yourself. Instead, share what you want to accomplish with humility and open hands. Keep a desire to learn.
  • Enter networking conversations with humility. Come with a clear ask–but don’t talk the whole time. 
  • Request a follow-up to keep the conversation going.

Episode Links


Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by Travis Bradberry

Do ministry together! Three gatherings, nine planters, one cohesive journey. Check out the Ascent Leader Church Planter Cohorts. Get more information today at: https://theascentleader.org/cohorts/

Who Is Rick Burge?

Twenty years ago, Rick was hired by Steve Stroope, the founder of Lakepointe Church in the Dallas, to help execute his vision and strategy to start new, high-impact churches in hard-to-reach cities in North America. In 2007, this movement became the Strategic Launch Network, which was established to better resource, serve, and connect church planters and partner churches. Rick has a passion for identifying, developing, and mentoring high-capacity leaders and provides coaching to church planters, pastors, and other leaders. He has had the privilege of helping start almost 70 new churches in strategic cities, like Boston, Denver, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. These new churches have now cumulatively baptized over 20,000 people and are actively multiplying other new churches. Prior to serving on staff at Lake Pointe, Rick held various leadership positions at United Parcel Service over a 20-year career. He is married to Kathryn and they have five children and 14 grandchildren.

UA Episode Graphic (2)


Thanks to our sponsor: Generis.

A generous church is a healthy, growing church. So, if you’re ready to advance your mission, visit Generis.com/getstarted today!

Quotes From Episode

“You can tell a ‘gatherer’ right away.”

“Satan is going to do his best to keep [your church plant] from being successful.”

“Church planting is a spiritual process…you’re in a spiritual fight.” -David Hibiske

“Your area of greatest weakness is where you’re most susceptible to cracking.” -David Hibiske

“If you can’t understand who you are, you’re probably misdiagnosing who other people are.”

Our goal with the Ascent Leader and our church planting cohorts is to help church planters win early and finish strong. We want to resource you so that you can avoid common pitfalls and simple mistakes. Being involved in a community of leaders like our church planting cohorts is one of the best ways to wrestle through these questions. We’re here to help you, if we can be of assistance to you please feel free to reach out.

Contact our team: ops@theascentleader.org

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