Church Plant Launch Team – Should You Include Believers?


I have read a lot of dialogue over the last several years about the inclusion of believers on a church plant Launch Team. Most agree that the Launch Team shouldn’t be only believers, though that is all too often what happens. A few promote not allowing any already-believers on the Launch Team for fear of battling hidden agendas.

Matthew Barnett, founder of the Dream Center in Los Angeles, suggests finding a balance. Having only life-long Christians in a church will guarantee its being “corrupted by the smell of a religious spirit”. We all need a mission, and short of being focused on reaching those far from Christ, we’ll trade that mission for infighting. Believers need the perspective of not-yet-believers and brand-new-believers to stay on track with the real mission of the church.

What I have seen in several plants is a group of already-believers praying to reach those far from Christ (which is a good thing!), but come the time of the Grand Opening, are still a group of already-believers praying to reach those far from Christ (without having reached any). It seems that if you aren’t able to recruit & include any not-yet-believers on the Launch Team, the DNA of the new church will reflect that after Launch. There’s not a magic switch that gets flipped when you start weekly services. Inertia is hard to overcome.

Vince Antonucci said at his recent Vault Conference, “Show me the first 100 people who join your church, and I’ll tell you what the church will look like eight years from now.”



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2 responses to “Church Plant Launch Team – Should You Include Believers?”

  1. why would a non believer want to be on a church launch team? I understand a new believer but I’m going to have to question the non believer idea there.

  2. justcallmebradley

    Thanks for the feedback! On the surface, it is confusing. But remember that the point of new churches is to reach those far from God. So inviting someone to play drums or do a community service project even when they’re not sure if they even believe in God is a great way to build an ongoing relationship with them and earn the right to be heard. Plus, people are driven to belong to something and generally want to be part of something bigger than themselves. The American Church has a history of putting belief first and then starting discipleship, but Jesus said, “…make disciples [and then go about], baptizing them…” (editorial mine, of course). I could tell many stories of people who finally realized how much God loves them and came to a conversion experience because of getting involved in serving first.

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