Reason #5: No Team
Church planting is not an individual sport.  Church planting is a team sport.  Trying to plant a church without a strong team is like trying to make it to the Superbowl with just a quarterback and a middle linebacker (and you thinking you can play both sides of the ball).

I heard someone say recently "The first Reformation gave the people their Bible back...what's it going to take for them to get their ministry back?"  I believe that church planters are uniquely positioned to help people rediscover the joys of ministry.

Too often church planters believe that they have been trained and educated for the work of the ministry, but exactly the opposite is true.  Church planters have been trained and educated for the equipping of people for the work of the ministry.  Please do not plant a church until you've grasped this important difference.  When church planters fail to embrace the need for a strong team of leaders and hoard the ministry to themselves they quickly burn out and become frustrated by the lack of growth in their church.

So how can a church planter ensure that they launch with a strong team?

1. Identify your essential leadership roles.  For us they were: Lead Pastor, Worship Director, Children's Ministry Director, Treasurer, Set-Up Director, Guest Services Director, Cafe Director, and Administrative Assistant.  While we had other roles, and one person filled two roles, these were the essential roles for us at launch. 
2. Don't give away leadership too quickly. Some planters are quick to give away leadership, and slow to remove people.  The opposite should be true.  Take your time in identifying leaders from within your launch team, and place them in a role only after seeing them succeed in less demanding roles.
3. Don't launch until you've got your essential roles staffed.  Just because your launch plan says you're launching on September 13th doesn't mean you should if you still haven't identified a worship director, children's director, or some other key leader.
4. Create an organization chart for 1 year after launch.  If you're planning to be a church of 200+ by the end of your first year then be sure that you create an org chart that will support a congregation of 200.  Then begin to fill in responsible parties for each role, even if you have to have multiple people serve in multipule roles to begin with. This will give you an idea of how many, and what kind of new leaders you will need to be developing during your first year.
5. Don't hire people, use volunteers.  One of the biggest mistakes I see church planters make is to hire people too quickly.  Don't do it.  Resources are tight.  Don't underestimate the power of a highly motivated volunteer.  It is likely someone who is willing to volunteer has a higher intrinsic motivation than someone who will only work if they are paid.  I basically volunteered my time for the first year of BridgeWay as I served as a full-time youth pastor and church planter.  Our worship director volunteered their time.  The only person we paid was a very part-time Administrative Assistant who received I believe $25 per week.
6. Don't underestimate the power of the $100 per week part-time ministry leader.  We'd never be able to accomplish what we do at BridgeWay without several of our staff basically working for a check that covers their mileage too and from the church.  Rather than hire one full-time staff person, consider hiring two to three part-time staff.
7.  When you finally do hire, do it where most needed.  I've heard people say, "You should always hire worship first." or "You should always hire a children's minister first."  I say...your first hire should always be where you need it the most.  We've got a great part-time worship director and would have been foolish to hire a full-time director first.  Our actual first full-time hire was someone who's primary job was to connect people to the church quickly and to equip them for ministry.   Notice the emphasis on someone who would build a stronger team?
8. Value your team.  Write them notes of encouragement.  Spend time with them.  Let them know they are appreciated.
9. Cast vision with your team.  This is a place we made some mistakes early.  I knew about all the cool stories that were happening in the church, but few of our leaders got to hear many of the amazing stories.  Recently, we began to share these stories in team huddles before our services begin on Sundays.  So we meet with our teams and share a powerful story from the prior week.  This helps to connect their ministry to the mission & vision of the church.  It has been powerful.
10.  Provide pastoral care to your leaders.  As a church planter one of your jobs is to provide pastoral care to your leaders so they can do the same for others.  I'm still working on this one myself.

So how about you?  Have you ever seen the power of being on a great team?  How about the weakness of being on a poorly staffed team?
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