Chapter 4
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Teamwork is vital

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Tim Rivera was part of a mission trip to Santiago, Isabela. Maraming sumama. Many received Christ through the evangelistic ministries. After one week, everyone went home, except for Tim. He was left behind to establish the church—left behind alone. Wala siyang team.

For two long lonely years he struggled. Finally, he gave up. He left Isabela defeated, without establishing a church.

What if Tim had recruited a team? Things might have been different. In this chapter, we'll begin by looking at the benefits of a team, and we'll end with commissioning the team which you recruited. Here are the points we'll cover:

• Recognize the benefits of a team

• Why some churches don't use teams

• How many workers are needed to form a team?

• How to recruit a team

• Qualities to look for in church planters

• Commission the team

Recognize the benefits of a team

I've asked experienced church planters to name some of the benefits of using a team. Here are some of their answers.

1. More manpower produces more fruit

Let's say you have a church planting team of one pair of lay people leading OBSes (Outreach Bible Studies) during their non-working hours. They are able to hold four OBSes per week. But three pairs doing this would give 12 OBSes per week. That's a lot more fruit!

A fulltime church planter will also bear more fruit with a team. Pastor Arnel, a fulltime church planter, holds 12 OBSes per week. In addition, his two pairs of volunteer OBS leaders hold an additional two per pair. That makes a total of 16! Mobilizing all possible manpower is a key to rapid church multiplication.

2. Gives a variety of resources

A team provides a variety of gifts, personalities, strengths, experiences and other resources.

Kuya Tony and Kuya Nanding faithfully went out evangelizing every Sunday afternoon. Many received Christ. Sadly, after two years, none of their fruit could be found! Sayang!

I joined them. We formed a church planting team of three. The Lord blessed us and we successfully planted a church. I don't think they could have done it without me. My part was to suggest a step-by-step system so that evangelizing eventually lead to planting a church.

At the same time, I'm sure that I couldn't have done it without them! They are much better at evangelizing than I am. With our variety of gifts together, we did it. That's bayanihan church planting!

Through a team, mas maraming kakilala. Some team members will feel comfortable with certain people in your target barangay. Other team members will be better able to connect with others. By working as a team you will be able to reach even more people.

Also, a team will probably have more access to material resources.

3. More ideas

No single person has all the ideas. When facing a challenge in church planting, writing a list of various options is often a big help. A group provides more creativity. A team also provides a check and balance on ideas that might not be good ones.

4. Accountability

I used to get up at 3:30 a.m. to go fishing with my friend, Ron. When the alarm rang I usually felt terrible. I often did not want to get up. I always did though, because I knew Ron would be waiting for me.

It's the same with a church planting team. Most members usually follow through on their responsibilities because they know their teammates are counting on them.

5. Greater aggressiveness

Mas matapang daw kapag sama-sama.

6. Fruit is multiplied, not just added

One horse can normally pull about 2,000 kilos. However, two horses working together can sometimes pull as much as 23,000 kilos!1

This principle of multiplied production is also true in church planting. A team of four will probably produce even more than double the fruit of a team of two.

7. Encouragement

"Kung minsan, wala na akong gana para humayo," admitted Vic, a fulltime church planter. "Pero laging pinasisigla ako nina Kuya Boy at Mang Abner. They are always so happy and joyful to be a part of our team. Talagang nakaka-encourage sila."

8. Helps in personal development

Serving on a church planting team is a great way to apply Proverbs 27:17.

& As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

In a team, we can learn to trust and submit to one another. The deepest and most sincere fellowship I have observed in our church is among the members of our church planting teams.

9. Mas masaya

It's usually more fun to do things in a group. The more the merrier.

10. Helps prevent giving up

"There were many times when I wanted to give up," recalls Pastor Anthony. "The Lord used our team to give me the encouragement that I needed through the hard times to continue on."

11. The church gets planted faster

Teams really help keep momentum going in a church planting project.

12. Produces more church planters

Baby served on the church planting team of Pastor Teddy. After that positive experience, she recruited her own team and planted a church of her own!

How many examples of solo church planters can you find in the Bible? I haven't found one yet. Jesus served with teams. So did Paul. They knew the benefits.

Deuteronomy 32:30 tells us that one can chase a thousand but that two can chase ten thousand. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 also encourages us to work in teams.

& Two are better than one … 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.

One of the keys to reaping a greater harvest is to develop church planting teams.

Why some churches don't use teams

We can form church planting teams entirely from working people. They can plant a church on their days off. Our church has planted several daughter churches with teams like these. With these teams, the pastor or some other experienced person can provide the training and coaching that the team may need.

Fulltime church planters can also gain much additional strength by including others on their teams. In this case, the church planter could possibly be the one to train the team.

With so many benefits to teams, why don't all churches take advantage of these benefits? Why don't some use teams?

1. Members are unwilling to serve

"Maganda sana. Kaya lang, walang may gusto sa church namin." This can especially be a problem if there is a paid church planter. "He's paid. I'm not. Why should I do his work for free?" some mistakenly think. Lugi ang church planting project when members think like this.

2. Leaders prefer to merely do the work2

"Hindi ako trainer. Church planter lang ako, e." This church planter is in the habit of doing all the work of church planting by himself. He's used to it. He does not stop to think that he could multiply his fruit by training others while he is doing the work of church planting. This is a big mistake.

3. No time to train others

"Ako na lang ang gagawa. Mas madali kasi." This may be true—at first. This is especially true if the church planter will be the one to train the team. Time spent in training others does slow us down at the beginning. But in the long run it pays off. We produce many times more fruit as we multiply workers.

4. Hesitant because of past problems3

"Nasubukan ko na. Ayoko na." This church planter tried using a team. Unfortunately it did not work out.

5. The church planter is more effective than team members

"Mas marunong ako, e. Baka masira ang gawain." It may be true. This church planter may be more effective than any of the team members. Because of this, he keeps all the ministry to himself. Even though some church planters may be the most effective, other team members can make significant contributions also. Sayang naman if they are excluded!

I'm teaching my kids how to feed the fish in our aquarium. When they do the feeding, they leave a big mess. Some of the pellets do get into the water. But even more get scattered on the table. They can't do it as well as I can. Not yet. But because I value training them, I'm willing to help clean up their mess. When they do learn, there will be more of us who can feed the fish. Similarly, let's give team members a chance to develop.

Other church planters are very willing to train others, but the potential team members may be uncomfortable with the training. We can effectively use on-the-job training to prepare Outreach Bible Study (OBS) leaders.

To do this, the team member will lead part of the OBS. The church planter, pastor or other trainer will observe and give constructive feedback. Some team members are hesitant to lead an OBS when a "superior" is there who is more effective. "He's here. He's better at this than I am. Let him do it," they mistakenly think. As team members are willing to do part of the ministry, even in the presence of a "superior," this will speed up their development.

6. Some leaders want all the glory

Actually, we all struggle with wrong motives for ministry at times. Let's not allow this to keep potential harvesters out of the harvest field!

7. Some leaders are insecure

This can happen. Mobilizing others is a threat to some church planters. To avoid this possibility, they do all the ministry. We all have our insecurities. Let's base our confidence in our position in Christ. Then, if someone surpasses us, walang problema!

When I was new in the Philippines I was training Ate Femy to be an OBS leader. She developed quickly. Before long, she became more effective than me. Amen!

8. The fear of not being needed

Impossible! There are thousands of barangays without a church. There is more than enough room for all of us.

9. No one in the church knows how to train others

"Maganda sana. Pero paano gagawin?" Some pastors and church planters are good at doing actual ministry. What is missing is that they don't know how to train others to do it. If that's your situation, keep reading. Help is on the way!

10. Ineffective recruiting

We'll cover this also. Darating din tayo riyan.

None of these are good reasons to neglect using teams. If your church is not yet using church planting teams, maybe you have seen the reason why. If so, hopefully seeing this will be the first step towards change. You can decide now to mobilize teams! This will multiply your fruit!

How many workers are needed to form a team?

The more the better! There are some examples in the New Testament of teams as small as two, although most teams are larger. The largest I've found so far is eight (Paul, Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Timothy, Tychicus and Trophimus - Acts 20:4). Even a small team of two or three is better than trying to plant a church alone. With more team members you can open more OBSes.

You should try to have a total of at least 30 people, all in all, in your OBSes. This way, when you bring all of the OBSes together to form a fellowship, there should be enough people present to get off to a good start. If you average only three contacts in each OBS, you will need 10 OBSes. If your OBSes are larger, you can get by with fewer OBSes. But more are better! With good scheduling, you can hold several OBSes in one day.

Pastor Jun is a fulltime church planter. "I can easily do 10 OBSes myself," he said.

"That's good," I replied. "But with teammates, you can open even more OBSes."

"Oo nga, ano?" he said.

"My schedule is very full. I can only help with one OBS per week," said Atty. Sanvictores. That helps! We can include people like him on our teams.

The main guideline is: Have enough team members to open OBSes for at least 30 people.

A team should have at least one male and one female. This will provide a better opportunity to reach both men and women.

All teams should also have at least one mature adult. Grace was 21 years old, a new Bible school graduate. "Kuya Dave, I feel called to be a church planter," she said with enthusiasm.

As a young person, Grace will likely be most effective in reaching other young people. To establish a stable church, she will also need to reach mature adults. It may be hard for Grace, as a young person, to reach older adults.

"Amen," I responded to Grace. "Who are some older adults who may be able to join your team?" I asked.

Grace mobilized a few older adults. They were effective in reaching other mature adults in the target barangay. They planted a solid church.

Think about the strengths and weaknesses of potential team members. If a teammate is weak in one area, the strength of another teammate can help provide what he or she lacks. I mentioned earlier that I'm strong in organizing but weak in evangelism. Kuya Tony and Kuya Nanding are both very strong in evangelism. They covered my weakness well. Together we planted a church!

How to recruit a team

Now that we have seen what kind of people we need on our church planting teams, here's how we can recruit them.

1. List all of the positions to be filled on the team

To begin, OBS leaders and intercessors are needed. You should also recruit apprentice OBS leaders. These are people who do not yet know how to lead an OBS, but have the potential to learn. As OBS leaders lead OBSes, they should train apprentice OBS leaders at the same time. This will multiply leaders.

You should also recruit apprentice-intercessors. Then, team them up with experienced intercessors for on-the-job training.

After a few months, when you have a worship service, you will also need Praise and Worship leaders and Children's teachers.

Add any other positions that you think are necessary.

2. Write a position description for each position

See the sample position description for an OBS leader on p. 63.

This is just a sample. You should add, subtract and change the sample to fit your situation.

Some church planters recruit teams who will actually move to the target barangay to become the core members of the new church. These could even be lay people who will find a new job in the new place. This technique calls for a very high degree of commitment. Some books on church planting call this colonization. This would be an important point to include in the position descriptions if you use this method.

You can use the form on p. 64 to write your own position descriptions.

3. List possible team members

Stop and pray. Ask God whom He would like to be on your team. Listen. God will probably put people's names on your heart! Write these names below or on another piece of paper.

As you consider possible team members, try to find people who share your vision and will be committed to you as the leader.

If your church has a membership list, read it over prayerfully. The Lord may use this to give you teammates.

You can also ask leaders in your church for recommendations. Some leaders you might ask are: your pastor, adult Sunday School teachers, leaders of men's and women's fellowships, cell group leaders, elders or others.

4. Make an appointment with each prospect

Approach each individual on your list. It may go something like this:

Dave: "Hi, Ate Norie. Did you know I'm hoping to plant a church? I'm praying about those who can join our church planting team. The Lord has laid you on my heart. Could we get together so I could tell you more about it? I'd like to tell you what it would involve to join our team. You don't need to decide now if you'll join our team. You don't even need to decide when we get together. I'd just like to tell you what it involves, so you can think about it and pray about it. Puwede ba?

Ate Norie: "O sige, Dave."

Dave: "Could we get together this Sunday, right after the service? Magmeryenda tayo."

Ate Norie: "O, sige. Lalong maganda."

5. Keep the recruiting appointment

The main thing to do at the recruiting appointment is to explain the position description. This will make it very clear what you are expecting of the different team members. When you discuss the duties, you may make some adjustments. For example:

Dave: "Each OBS leader will lead at least two OBSes per week."

Ate Norie: "I'm doing a lot of overtime, Dave. I don't think I can commit to two OBSes per week. Would it be possible to take just one OBS per week?"

Dave: "OK. We could make that adjustment."

When you explain the qualifications, encourage your prospect like this:

Dave: "Ate Norie, not everyone is qualified to serve on our team. Not everyone has these qualities. But I see all of these qualities in you. That's why I've chosen you to talk to about this."

Ate Norie: "Naku! Talagang binobola mo ako!

Dave: "Hindi, Ate Norie. Totoo naman, e!"

After you have explained the position description, give a copy to your prospect to take home. Now that they know what being a team member involves, ask them if they would think and pray about joining your team. If they agree to consider this, set a date when you will ask them for their decision. Usually three or four days is enough time for them to make their decision.

While at the recruiting appointment, you can mention to potential team members the great benefits to them, should they decide to join.

• They can be a part of something truly significant.

• Their unique gifts and abilities are really needed.

• They will be strengthened and will grow spiritually.

• God will reward their sacrifices with joy and eternal rewards.4

6. Follow-up to determine the prospect's decision

The conversation may go something like this:

Dave: "Hi, Ate Norie. I'm calling to see if you've made a decision already about joining our team."

Ate Norie: "Yes, Dave. I feel the Lord is leading me to join."

Dave: "Amen! Salamat sa Panginoon! I'm really looking forward to working with you, Ate Norie!"

Others will decide not to join. That's okay, too. Thank them for taking the time to consider your request. Thank them for their honesty and their sensitivity to the Lord's leading.

Recruiting your team this way, with position descriptions, helps give you a solid team. They know exactly what they are getting into, and are committed to do it.

Church planters who take short cuts in recruiting a team may get some who will join quickly. Unfortunately, many may drop out just as quickly after they see how much work it really takes.

Some try to recruit team members through appeals from the pulpit. As you've probably learned from your own experience, pulpit appeals are very ineffective. Furthermore, this may make the church planter appear desperate for teammates. Most people are not attracted to join a project that's desperate for people. The personalized approach, with qualifications for team members, keeps a high standard. It makes being a team member a privilege.

Also, if you appeal for team members from the pulpit, what will you do when someone volunteers who is not qualified?

Recruiting is more than just assigning. Recruiting respects people's rights to make their own decisions.

Yes, we could just assign. People may say, "Sige po, Pastor, sige po." Then, after a few weeks, they may give excuses for being absent. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan. Careful recruiting produces solid commitments.

As soon as possible, recruit workers for the harvest from the harvest. You have a limited number of potential workers who are from your mother church. But the number of potential workers in your target area is unlimited! They are not Christians … yet. But once you have some new believers in your OBSes, you have a whole new source of new workers. These are workers from the harvest!

You can use the worksheet on pp. 69-70 to list those committed to your team. You can write on the worksheet or on another piece of paper. You don't necessarily have to fill in all of the blanks to have a complete team. One person could possibly fill more than one role. For example, one of the OBS leaders may also be the team leader.

Qualities to look for in church planters

There are important qualities to look for in church planters, especially in leaders of church planting teams. Many have gone out as church planters who did not have the necessary qualities. This is probably the main reason that the majority of outreaches die out after a year or two.

Research has shown that there are 13 vital qualities that church planters need.5 These qualities are:

• Has vision

• Is self-motivated

• Creates ownership of the ministry (skillfully leads others to participate and become committed)

• Able to reach the unchurched

• Has the cooperation of his/her spouse

• Builds relationships effectively

• Is committed to church growth

• Is responsive to the needs of the community

• Taps the gifts of others

• Is flexible and adaptable

• Is a good team builder

• Able to overcome setbacks

• Exercises faith

It isn't necessary that all leaders of teams be fulltime church planters. There are many who have the above qualities who could become bivocational. These are people who plant a church while maintaining their jobs. In fact, mobilizing many planters of this type is essential for rapid church multiplication. We will greatly hinder multiplication if we limit the number of new church plants to the number of fulltime planters mobilized.

It would be ideal for team members to have also the qualities described above. Those lacking some of these characteristics can still make valuable contributions. Here are the minimal characteristics to look for in team members.

• Good testimony

A strong spiritual life. She/he serves as a good example to those being reached.

• Burden for the lost

Has a passion to see the lost come to Christ.

• Faithful

Someone you can count on, who will not quit the project after a month or two.

• God's leading

Most of all, make sure team members feel the Lord is leading them into this ministry.

Having good team members will make a big difference!

Commission the team

After you have recruited the team you may want to have a commissioning service to send them out. This can help to build even greater commitment in the team members. It should also increase prayer support from the mother church in the months ahead. God can use this to begin to speak to others, who may become members of the next church planting team. It will be a powerful visual aid to the whole congregation, showing the priority of planting new churches. All of this still applies, even if the target area is just three barangays away. After you establish the daughter church, hold a celebration service, reflecting back on the commissioning service.

Jay is an architect with his own construction business. He had a burden to plant a church, so he recruited a large team of twelve. These twelve went faithfully and joyfully to the target barangay every Sunday afternoon. They had rich fellowship while serving together. In less than a year, a solid church was planted. New workers, from the harvest, were trained as the team phased out. Their mission was accomplished. Many tears of joy were shed during the farewell service for the team. The new believers thanked the Lord for the team. The team thanked the Lord for the rewarding opportunity. Jay thanked the Lord for the team, who helped fulfill his vision.

I believe there are many more teams like this waiting to be mobilized. May the Lord provide leaders who will raise them up for the still unreached barangays!

Action planning and discussion

1. What are some other benefits of having church planting teams, in addition to those mentioned in this chapter?

2. Of all the different benefits of church planting teams, which are most meaningful to you?

3. What are some other possible reasons why a church may not use a team?

4. Of all the reasons given for not using church planting teams, are any true of your church? If so, which ones?

5. If you already have a church planting team, what are some of the strengths and weaknesses of your team members? Do the strengths of some members cover the weaknesses of others?

6. Write a position description for each position on your church planting team.

7. What are some of the benefits of recruiting a team in the way explained in this chapter?

The main thing to do now

q Recruit your team. Below is part of the worksheet we saw earlier in this chapter. These are the positions that you need to fill to start the church plant. It's not necessary to fill in every blank.

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This page was last updated on 15 July 2013.