This past weekend, we took our kids to the mountains for a little family fun. We do this often, so our kids are expert mountaineers at this point. Well, as much as they can be for being 2 and 4. However, as we were driving to the mountains, my oldest child fell into a downward funk of complaining about not being with her friends. We are a pretty active family, so our kids get a lot of “friend attention,” and today she wanted to not only go to the mountains, but she wanted to do so with other people.
I personally believe the best way to do anything is by doing it with other people. I say this all of the time, but I’m an experience guy more than anything else. If your product gives me a good experience, then I’m sold. In other words, I’d always much rather go to the movies and sit in front of a massive screen then chill at home and watch it on my couch. Or to bring the analogy even closer to home, I would always rather go explore a city than sit around on a beach. Again, I crave the experiences of life. But I also crave those experiences with other people.
When it comes to church planting, the same principle applies. I am convinced that church planting “with a team” is the most effective way, and the most biblical way (SIDE NOTE: I am actually writing my dissertation on recruiting, resourcing, and releasing a core team for church planting, so more on than later).
A core team, in my opinion, functions like any other team. To define what a team is, I have found no better definition than Walter C. Wright’s from his book Don’t Step on the Rope!: Reflections on Leadership, Relationships, and Teamwork.
A team is a small group of people working together on a common objective, dependent upon one another’s contribution, knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, caring about each other’s growth and development, and holding one another mutually accountable.
Let’s break this down for clarity as we apply this definition to a core team in church planting.
A small group of people…
A core team is a small group of people. I would even argue that it is closer to around 4 to 5 families. Greater than 3, but less than 18. In essence, it feels like a small group would feel. When you have too few, it feels super weird. When you have too many, nothing gets accomplished. But when you have the perfect amount, well, then you have your core team.
Working together for a common objective…
This small group of people is working toward the common goal of planting a local church in the community they have targeted. Nothing else matters to this team. It is the mission. It is what they eat, sleep, and breathe together.
Dependent upon one another’s contribution…
Everyone on the core team depends on each other. Everyone gets involved in the community. Everyone is involved in each other’s lives at a certain level. Everyone brings something to the table. In other words, the best teams have the best role players. Everyone knows their role on the team, and what they are expected to contribute, and when they don’t contribute, the team feels it.
Knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses…
Core team members are not expected to be a cookie cutter type personality. In other words, not everyone on a core team is going to be the dynamic, relationally-gifted evangelistic guy. That is because everyone’s contributions to the core team is dependent upon the gifts they bring to the team. Some might be great with hospitality. Some might be great relationally. Some might be great strategically. This is 1 Corinthians 12 language. One body, many members. So it is with your core team.
Caring about each other’s growth and development…
The core team is your core. Every members of the core cares strategically and intentionally about each other’s growth and development. The core team studies together, prays together, eats together, evangelizes togethers, works together, strategizes together, memorizes Scripture together, etc. etc. etc. If your core team is not growing, your core team is not flourishing.
Holding one another mutually accountable…
In this, the core team holds one another mutually accountable. This is not just for spiritual growth, but it is for everything. Each core team member expects the other core team members to show up, be prepared, be growing, contribute their roles, bring their strengths to the team, etc.
And one other thing:
The core team must be committed to the process of growth, and not necessarily all be spiritual giants. However, it is important that core team members be more spiritually mature members. JD Payne, in his book, Barnabas Factors, gives these 8 essential practices of church planting team members:
- Walks with the Lord
- Maintains an outstanding character
- Serves the local church
- Remains faithful to the call
- Shares the gospel regularly
- Raises up leaders
- Encourages with speech and actions
- Responds appropriately to conflict
If you are invested in joining the core team for Veritas City Church, then let us know here.