I got an e-mail last week from a guy who is putting together a church planting team to start a brand new church. One of his questions for me was this: “Dave, what should I look for in a church planting team?”
Our original team of five that started CCC was not put together with much strategic thought. There were lots of areas that we lacked. For example, none of us were very gifted in the arts or music. That was a mistake. And I don’t recommend that you do it the way we did it. But we made it work. And part of the reason we were able to make it work was because we were all friends, and we had one thing in common – a heart-beating passion to “help people find their way back to God.“
So after a little thought regarding this question, here are the first three things I would look for in a church planting team.
SOFT STUFF – Trust, fun, friendship.
I think this is the stuff that most often gets overlooked and will make a team more than just effective. This soft stuff will make a team the kind of attractive community that other people will want to be a part of, and people will mysteriously find themselves drawn to the team’s mission. Don’t underestimate the soft stuff.
PASSION – Common vision and philosophy.
You need to make sure that everyone on the team has the same passion. Make sure that you are all trying to accomplish the same vision with a cohesive philosophy of ministry. This kind of tight alignment among the team will pay off for years and years!
GIFT MIX – Complimentary gift mix…with everyone having leadership gifts.
This is usually where people start when they talk about church planting teams. I agree that it is absolutely critical, but it won’t be enough if you don’t have the first two. You will want everyone on the initial team to have leadership gifts so that they will be about the task of reproducing other leaders and artists for the mission. You will also want complimentary gifts based on the people you are trying to reach. If you are reaching lots of young families, someone with a gift mix that is about ministering to families with children is crucial.
I’m sure I must have left some stuff out. But that was the first three that came to mind. What would you add or subtract?