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The Church Planting Team In the ‘Leadership Emerges’ Phase

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Eventually, after meeting midweek for a while (or sometimes before), you need to get clear on who is going to be taking the lead in the church plant. This needs to be somebody who has enough leadership capacity to gather a few more people in, and to navigate the church plant through a Sunday launch into an established church. Depending on who you have and their gifting type, this might be someone who is particularly wired for start-ups and can take it through the first few phases, or it might be somebody who ends up taking the lead in the long term.

At this point in the plant, the shape of the team starts to feel a bit different. Because you now have a bit more vision for the future, and some key decisions need to be made (when to start meeting on Sundays, venue, time, etc.), there is a lot of onus on the leader to steer this process. It is important that the leader is able to get a bit of momentum going, but it is also vital to work hard on the relationships with others in the team. We have spoken before on Broadcast about how people will work hard for something that they have helped to shape, and it is important to draw as many of your team as possible into the process, making a point of explaining step-by-step where you are up to, and taking time to hear their thoughts, questions and concerns.

This was the stage of church planting that Paul was at after he had arrive in Corinth at the beginning of Acts 18. He stayed at the home of Aquila and Priscilla, and every Sunday he went to the synagogue and tried to persuade people there of the gospel. It was clear that Paul was the leader of this church planting team, but by staying at the home of Aquila and Priscilla he was able to ensure they were right at the heart of what was going on in the church plant.

One of the key ways that your team grows at this stage is through the relationships that people have with the leaders. Once it is clear who is steering the ship, there will be people who gather to those leaders because they are inspired by them and the vision they cast, because they recognise their ministry, or even because they just like them as people and want to be around them. Similarly, as other members of the planting group get to know and form friendships with the leaders, some of them will also start to emerge and take some shared ownership of the plant, which leads us onto the fourth phase of a church planting team…