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.