Wednesday, April 4, 2012

THE ORDINARY CHRISTIAN'S GUIDE TO CHURCH PLANTING - Step 3: Develop A Church Planting Team

In the remaining blog posts we are going to deal with some very practical and necessary components that need to be in place in order for a healthy church to be started and develop.  These essential components were modeled by Jesus to his 12 disciples; put into practice by the disciples when Jesus sent them out and then multiplied when when Christ instructed and sent out the 72 into every town and village he was about to go.  These same components were implemented and practiced by the Apostle Paul during his missionary journey's.  The best and most complete and best instructions of these components were given by Jesus in Luke 10:1-16 as Jesus sends out the 72.

In verse 1 we discover the first essential component.  It says,


"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go." Luke 10:1 (NIV)

I don't know how many times in my life I got excited about doing something and then charged forward with the attitude that I was going to accomplish this goal regardless if anybody came with me or not. To many to count. I was going to make it happen, no, I was going to force it to happen. But then, just as I got into the thick of things, when things got really tough and even dicey, I'd loose heart, get discouraged and soon drop out and quit. I'm sure I am not alone in this. I am sure that most of us can recall a time or two where that was a description of you. But isn't comforting to know that Jesus has made preparations to encourage us who are on mission with him when we go through difficult times? Isn't nice to know that Jesus' strategy included an encouragement component to keep his missionaries (us) on track?

Did you notice in that verse Jesus appointed 72 other people and placed them in teams of two?  Why? What would be the reason for sending them out two by two? If you sent them out individually you could cover twice as much territory and twice as many people could hear the message of the Kingdom of God. The only possible reason for this pairing is to provide support and encouragement for one another. Listen to what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

From this verse we can see Jesus' wisdom in sending the 72 out in teams. He knew that there would be far more success with teams than if they went out on their own. Teams would provide assistance, encouragement, protection and strength. None of this would be available if a person was pursuing Christ's mission alone. Knowing these benefits Jesus made teams part of his strategy. Throughout the book of Acts we see the same pattern of teams being used with the apostles. Whether it was Paul and Barnabas or Peter and John we see them doing the work together and starting churches as a team.

For those of us who are just ordinary Christians we can learn a very important lesson! As we go out to start new churches we need to make sure that we don't try to do it alone but we have surrounded ourselves with other like-mind believers who have the same passion for Christ's as our own to form a church planting team. Starting churches can be hard, difficult and many times discouraging.  But if there has been prayer and time put into building a strong team, of at least two people, the work of starting a new church will not be so overwhelming and there will be a wonderful built in support system to help ensure that what we have started (planting a new church) we do finish.  

So who are some brothers and sisters in Christ that you know who love Jesus more than anyone or anything else and unconditionally and sacrificially love others as Christ has love them?  Who are some Christians that you know that have a heart for Christ's mission?  The only three real qualifications for team members are:  1) They're A Fully Devoted Follower of Christ; 2) They've Proven Themselves To Be Faithful To Christ & Ministry; 3) They Sense God's Call To Be Part Of This New Venture.

HERE'S YOUR HOME WORK:

1.  Using the 3 qualification listed above make a list of all potential team members.
2.  Begin praying over the names and asking God whom he wants as part of the church plant team.
3.  Share the vision of the new church to those you sense God wants to be part of it.
4.  Be alert to others that God might bring your way to be part of the church planting team.

Once you have a leadership team of at least you and one other person begin meeting together for prayer, going over The Ordinary Christian's Guide To Church Planting and developing your plans to plant this new church.  

HERE IS WHERE THE FUN BEGINS! GO OUT AND FIND THOSE THAT GOD HAS PREPARED TO BE PART OF THIS NEW CHURCH!

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