“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:32
A core team is the backbone of a Church plant. How that core team actually looks and takes shape is going to be different depending on several factors. The culture, the sending-church, the background and planting style of the Church-planter and his family will all play into how the core team begins and then moves through each phase of the church-plant. But whether it’s one family or five families to begin with, there is always a core team. The quality of that team effects both the momentum and the spiritual health and stability of that church as it grows.
Last week, at New City Church, we met for the first time in our small meeting space in Bath. Several believers showed up whom we had never met before. There were about 18 in total, including children. I led us through a time of worship, prayer, a short study and then communion at the Lord’s table (My vision is to incorporate the four pillars of Acts 2:42 into our early gatherings). It was truly a Spirit-filled time that will only get better and better as a family begins to form. The evening unfolded and I found myself thinking often, as I looked about the room,
“Who is the core team here?”
“Who are the few You are sending or have sent to partner with my family on this mission; a mission that, without your Spirit, will be impossible to accomplish?”
“Who is just here to get, and who is here to give their lives for the mission of making disciples in this city?”
Even now as I type, I am asking God and trusting Him to pour out His Spirit on our city and to bring to it the laborers whom He desires to be a part of New City Church and the harvest of souls on Maine’s mid-coast.
Emphasis on the Word Team
So, why not go about this alone? Why not drag my family through days and days of intense spiritual battle, even go right up to the front lines of Gospel ministry, firing and being fired at, all by ourselves? The reason seems pretty obvious when the question is posed that way, doesn’t it? The thought of battling without comrades in arms, fighting without backup, armor bearers and soldiers with common goals and objectives is simply absurd. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s similar to the nightmarish thought of trying to parent and raise my children without my bride, my partner and best friend. We get each other. We know the mission. We understand each other. That’s what a Church-plant needs.
“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5
But it’s more than just needing partners in Church-planting. It’s understanding that the Church is a family that leans upon one another and on Christ together. When a core team comes together that gets that, that understands the importance of suffering together, rejoicing together, succeeding, failing and praying together through all of it, then you’ve got something unstoppable. Why? Because that’s the Church that Jesus promised to build, and the gates of Hell cannot prevail against His Church.
Set Apart by the Spirit
We are taking the next several months to ask God to show us who our core team is. Many are here in our city already, praying for God to move in their community, and God is answering. Some were at our first meeting and have been praying for years for more light to come into the darkness here. Some, perhaps, will come from other places as the Lord works providentially through His Church and through unexpected means. As a dear friend and mentor of mine told me before planting, “Your core might be in the harvest itself.” That just might be. But however they come, it absolutely must be as the Spirit sets them apart for the work. Neither He, nor we, are looking for perfect people, or particularly gifted people for that matter, but simply those who recognize their weakness without Him. We long for New City Church to be a family who serves alongside one another for the glory of God and the making of disciples in this city.
Pray For This Process
So if you’re wondering how you can be praying for New City Church, and for my family, now you know. Please pray that God’s will would be done in this phase of core team building. I’m putting no time frame on this. It’s up to God when we’re ready to move from this phase to the next. Pray that during this time we would be protected from the schemes of the Devil who would just as soon have us wiped of the face of the earth. Pray that God would be magnified and His Church multiplied in this city.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s current motto says, “Better Together”. That’s something we’re choosing to take serious from the get go.