How can I get involved in replanting dying churches? Pt.3 Serve
One of the greatest ways you can get involved in helping a replant is by serving as a volunteer in some capacity. What a joy it will be for you to serve this congregation! Likewise, it will be a great blessing for the replanter and members of the replant to have you come and serve.
You will want to touch base with the replanting pastor and ask how you can best serve. My guess is that there will be a large variety of ways this replant can put you to work, particularly at their weekend worship gathering. They may need your help with anything from leading music, to holding babies in the nursery, to serving on the greeting team, to cleaning some classrooms, to running computer slides in the service, to helping with administrative tasks, to making a repair on the building. Whatever it might look like, replants are always in need of volunteer help. Your willingness to serve will be a great blessing to this congregation!
Join the core team of a new replant
We were not made to minister in the church alone, and the Bible is clear on this. This is particularly true when it comes to replanting a congregation. A replanting pastor and his family cannot do this on their own. They need help. This is why a core team is absolutely essential to the ongoing health, stability, and growth of any church replant.
What Is a core team?
Simply put, a core team is made up of the committed individuals working with the replanter to lead the replant. It is made up of men and women, boys and girls who are all-in with this replant. While there will be folks whose excitement and commitment may wane, the core team has made a commitment to participate, regardless of the challenges that lie ahead. This is why they are called the core team: They serve as the core of this replant.
Who makes up the core team?
Ideally, this core team will be made up of individuals from several groups of people: existing members of the declining congregation, the replanting pastor and his family, and individuals from the community and other congregations who feel called to be part of this replant. This last group is made up folks just like you! The greater representation the core team has from these different groups of people, the better. It is healthy to have a team made up of individuals with diverse giftings, passions, and backgrounds. We want older folks and younger folks, people who have been part of church their whole life, and those who are brand new to this whole Christian thing.
Even those who are feeling tired and discouraged and those who have fresh passionate vision for what lies ahead can play an important role on the core team. With Christ at the center and a commitment toward love and unity amongst the core team, God will do amazing things through this group of committed servants.
What is the commitment for members of a core team?
While the commitment is going to be different, depending on the particular replant, there are some basic commitments you can anticipate if you choose to be part of a core team. In my experience, two foundational commitments are shared by those who make up the most effective core teams in church replanting.
First of all, each core team member commits to serving as a minister in various ways. This means working with the replanting pastor and the other members of the core team to find a place to serve the body of the replant. This new congregation will need people to serve in a wide variety of ministry areas. It might be serving as greeters, musicians, sound technicians, slide runners, children’s ministry leaders or helpers, making coffee, leading a small group or adult Sunday School, etc. This replant needs people who are willing to step up to serve in ministry in a variety of different ways.
Secondly, each potential team member must understand they are expected to live and serve as missionaries to the community. Remember, mission is the driving purpose for replanting this church — to reach people who are far from God with the gospel! This means those who feel called to be part of this replant core team will be expected to show and tell the gospel boldly to their family, friends, and neighbors. This should not be a burden, but a joy for those who make up this team!
Consider the joy of replanting
While potential core team members must count the cost of being part of this team, they also must consider the excitement and great privilege that comes with being part of it. There are very few greater catalysts for joy than being used by God to make Jesus known in the lives of others. It’s so thrilling to see people who are far from God come to know and treasure Jesus and then invite others to do the same. Core team members must lead the way in this.
Remember how God saved you? Remember the joy of knowing Jesus and His incredible love for you in those first days, months, perhaps years of your salvation? Someone from some church introduced you to Jesus and then you were discipled by that church. The person who introduced you to Jesus and the church that you connected to rejoiced when God saved you — the angels rejoiced, Jesus rejoiced, God the Father rejoiced, the Holy Spirit rejoiced! This is the amazing work God has called core teams to lead as they help launch a new replant. Ask the Lord if being part of a replant core team is His call for you. Yes, there is great commitment involved, but there is even greater joy.
What is God calling you to do?
Each and every replant needs the ongoing support of believers just like you. What does this look like? How can you, and perhaps your church, get involved in replanting dying churches? Consider making a commitment to at least one of the following:
- Pray for particular replants and their leaders.
- Encourage replanters and their families. Be sure to listen intently. Share regular, specific prayer requests with others in your church who can join you in praying for this family.
- Serve a replant as a volunteer.
- Join the core team of a new replant.
May the Lord, by His grace and power, give you a burden to love, serve, pray for, and partner with a replant with the intentional, radical, selfless, love of Jesus over the long haul.
Sometimes this means finding trusted and reliable childcare for her kids.