How will you recruit a team? I wish I could give you a formula, but I suck at chemistry. I also know that God invented Algebra to illustrate that sometimes there is an unknown factor in every equation. In church planting, He’s called the Holy Spirit. Mark him with a letter x, p, q, or whatever, but like the wind in your parachute, there are just some things that you can’t plan. Building your team is one of those things. I can remember God moving in the Starbucks that I planted my first church out of. It was obvious that the Spirit was moving, and that the lost were hungry for the gospel, but I had no team. I had already quit the ministry, telling God that church people weren’t for me and that I was tired of their games. Ministry, however, isn’t something that you can flick on and off like a light switch and before I knew it, the Holy Spirit was moving. At the time Pillar was just taking off in a Starbucks and lost people were enthusiastic. My wife and I stood out on the edge of a field on one of our hikes through Wales, and she said, “I don’t feel safe without a team”. Standing there in that clearing, we prayed. She for a team, and me for anybody else who could come along and be more suited to take this thing than me.
Within a month, we had a team.
I make no bones about telling people that if you’re going to church plant, then you’d better start expecting God to turn up. No more of this playing in the whitewash of human effort when he’s given us the powerful currents of the vast ocean in the Spirit. He’s like the wind, and He turns up and blows as He pleases. To this day, I’ve never seen anything like the team of my first church plant. They were “the team that God built”. It was just great that when I was so worn out, and crotch-kicked that I got out of the way and let him do everything. You know, it’s funny, I didn’t even try to build a team. I’d be making coffee on the bar at Starbucks, talking to a coworker about what I was starting up, and a customer would be waiting in line and overhear. Wham! Next team member. Or I’d be preaching at a different church every week and the same couple kept showing up at all the churches I was preaching at, both of us convinced that the other was stalking us.
They, new to the area, wanted to find a church and asked, “where is your church?”. “I’m like little Bo Peep” I replied, “I have no sheep. I’m going to church plant though. It’ll be called Pillar Community Church.” They turned and looked at each other with jaws hinged wide. The week before, God had spoken to them through a painting that depicted God leading his people as a pillar of cloud and fire. Wham! Team members three and four. We used to say that everybody at Pillar had a story to tell. It was as if we’d all been thrown together.
It’s sad to me that I have to tell guys who are ready to plant churches that they should rely on the Holy Spirit and pray for a team. What’s even worse is that when I tell them, I can tell that it’s not the answer that they were looking for. It’s not enough. They want me to tell them how to build the team. The closest that I can come to is to tell you again, that there’s no formula. Wait on God!
That said, there are some biblical examples of how teams got built in the New Testament in a few different ways.
Recruitment: You might specifically seek a team member out, as Barnabas recruited Paul in (Acts 11:25). It may be a friend, or an old ministry contact, seminary classmate, or somebody that you’ve heard about. Like a terminator, you gun for them, and don’t stop or give up until the laser dot is pinpointed onto their forehead like they were Sarah Connors.
The Quickening: There are times where it just seems as if God is drawing your team together like they were a bunch of immortals being irresistably drawn to the Quickening (minus samurai swords and decapitation). People may suddenly turn up with the same passion to reach the lost in your area, like when Apollos made his way through Corinth and Ephesus and collided with Aquila and Priscilla, who eventually, in turn, introduced him to Paul. Sometimes it’s people you know, people who know people you don’t know. Confused? A planter who is with you might suddenly say, “You know, an old friend of mine called me out of the blue asking me where I was going to church. We haven’t seen each other in about five years, but he’d be perfect for our church plant”…and then you go and grab your samurai sword.
Garden Variety: You make your own church planters. Paul himself seems to have preferred the homegrown variety that sprung up as converts out of the churches he’d personally planted, such as Timothy, Titus, and Luke. If you’re discipling people effectively, then you are raising up a future army of christians that love to live dangerously, and can’t wait to embark on the next adventure.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.