The era of the lone church planter is just about over. There are probably still some of those out there, but the majority of church plants that we’re seeing now are either partnerships or clusters: a team leadership approach. The best partnerships are between those who have a good mix of gifts and callings that can complement one another. Look for team players. If you can pair an apostolic leader with one or two others to form a team, you have already gone a long way toward success.
A common objection to the partnership or team approach is cost. You might think it would cost more to fund two or three planters rather than one, and that would be true if they’re raising support or receiving funding from a denomination. But those aren’t the only options. Often the team approach works especially well for two to three bivocational planters working together. In some cases, their day jobs can be part-time giving them even more flexibility for ministry.
The bottom line here is to know who you are, and know who you need. Nobody can do it alone. Here are some good rules of thumb as you consider possible team members:
- You need people who are truly on board with the mission.
- You need people who live out the DNA, not just in words but in actions.
- It’s helpful to not start with all Christians.
- The people on your team should reflect the demographics of the people you’re trying to reach.
- You need people who are fully on board with whatever model you’re going to be using.
- You need people with different and complementary spiritual gifts to your own.
- You need people who can provide skills that you lack.