Are church planting teams necessary? Can you “go it alone” or is it best to work together? In some areas of the world, there are no churches to speak of. Someone must go and start churches where none exist. This is where the body of Christ steps in, uses the varied gifts God has given them, works together and plants churches among unreached people groups. Statistics, studies and experience show the most effective way to accomplish this is with teams.
Why are Teams So Important?
Church-planting teams are much like any other teams. A group of people unified around a common goal. In this case, the goal is for God to be glorified in every area of the globe. People leave the comforts of home and go to places in need of the gospel. There is great cost involved. This is where having a team becomes most important. Church-planting teams usually have the feeling of solidarity. The team brings the community and fellowship greatly needed in our Christian walk. Most teams also bring a wide variety of God-given gifts needed in unison to accomplish planting a church.
I have been a part of two different church-planting programs, both for a short duration. I was with them, however, long enough to understand their importance. Much of church-planting happens in another country away from our homes. Community is crucial. You surround yourself with people and not have community. This is what the team is for, it allows communion to happen. God had built into our DNA the need for community. So when a person gives up home to go and start churches, others need to be ready to walk together for this goal.
My family was in Zambia Africa with a church planting team. We were a family of six who moved to Africa for three months, and we knew almost nothing about the group or the work they were doing. We did not know what to expect. Tuesday came around and I heard about the team meeting and process group. Basically, it was an hour session of talking about our week and what issues we had. There were weeks we felt like failures as parents — how could we share the gospel with people? People I had never met before were able to speak truth into our lives.
Our team was able to encourage us and build us up and challenge us. In the same way, we were able to support and build up the others in the group. Everything was open and rarely were topics off-limits. As the months went on, we grew to love Tuesdays. We became so close to the people on our team. Church-planting teams are crucial to the life of a ministry. Our team not only worked together to plant churches, but we supported and learned from each other.
Why church-planting teams?
So why have church-planting teams? The most obvious answer is to plant churches where they are needed and if God wills it, to start a church-planting movement. But, they are more than that. Our team in Zambia pulled us through the hardest struggles we had faced. Church-planting is stressful work. Relocation, uprooting your family, adjusting to new and strange cultures all adds up to personal stress, marital stress, family stress and culture shock. But, when the body of Christ works together as a church-planting team, it helps us so we can work together while we work toward the greater goal of reaching unreached people groups with the love of Christ and spreading the gospel.