Characteristics of a healthy team

By Mac Lake

One of the first fears many church planters face is finding people for their team. You will struggle with the temptation to include everyone, but not everyone should be on your church plant team. Not everyone is suited for church planting. You know you need people, so why not let them join the team? What do you look for in team members?


God has been at work preparing the hearts of people to be on your team long before you may have even met them. Pray for those who are called to be a part of the team. You may be surprised when you discover a local pastor who wants to send some of his best leaders to help you. Or amazed when you come across a spiritually mature family that recently moved into town, and seek out a church plant. But let me warn you, there will be some people who will hear about what you’re doing and will see it as an opportunity to shape the church they’ve always wanted. As you cast a vision for the church plant, be honest about what the church will and will not be. It’s tempting to compromise the vision to keep people but in the end you both will be unhappy unless they’re truly called to your church.

As you cast a vision for the church plant, be honest about what the church will and will not be.

In the formational stages of our church plant, I had a highly successful businessman ask to meet with me to discuss the church. During the lunch, it became evident he could have a huge impact but when he shared what he was looking for, I realized that we weren’t a good fit. I knew the financial value he would bring to our church, but that would not be fair to him or to the vision God had given me.


I’ve discovered over the years that church planting can attract some real characters. Here are a few characters you will need to deal with prayerfully and carefully. 1. The Significance Seeker The Significance Seeker is someone who finds their significance in relationship with someone in a significant leadership position. This person is attracted to your church plant because of the opportunity they will have to get close to you as lead pastor. While relationships are important in the foundational stages of the church plant, this person’s motivation is not the mission of the church plant. 2. The Agenda Driver The Agenda Driver comes into your church plant with a predetermined selfish agenda. While they may agree with 70% of your vision, they come in with the idea that they will be able to change your vision to fit theirs. Their motivation is focused more on what they can gain than what they can contribute. 3. The Reconciliation AvoiderThe Reconciliation Avoider is a disgruntled, angry individual who left their previous church because of a fall out with key leaders. While the conflict may not have been their fault, it’s wise to see if they sought the proper pathway to reconciliation with their previous pastor. If they did not handle it in the proper way then you can counsel them in the biblical steps to seek reconciliation.


While you’re certainly not looking for perfect people, you do want to find people who will be excited and committed to the vision God has given you. Cindy and I had a couple that wanted to join our launch team in the early stages of our plant. As we shared the vision, it became obvious that they were not going to like what we were doing. But they kept coming to our gatherings. One weekend I took our small team to a church with a similar model and style we felt called to do. Everyone was overwhelmingly positive except this one couple. They hated it. So I encouraged them to find a different church that would fit their preferences. It wasn’t that they were bad people; I just knew it would be difficult for them to commit to something they hadn’t bought into one hundred percent.

While you’re certainly not looking for perfect people, you do want to find people who will be excited and committed to the vision God has given you.

It’s hard to let people go, but not everyone could or should be on your launch team. But if you find people who are called, have the right character and committed then you will see God work in and through your team.

Published September 22, 2015

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Mac Lake

Mac Lake is a pioneering influence in the church planting movement. In 1997, he planted Carolina Forest Community Church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In 2004, he began serving as Leadership Development Pastor at Seacoast Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where he served for more than six years. In July 2010, Mac Lake joined West Ridge Church to become the Visionary Architect for the LAUNCH Network. He then became the leader of the Send Network Training Team. In 2018, he joined Auxano as Lead Navigator, specializing in helping churches and ministries develop their leadership pipelines. Mac and his wife, Cindy, live in Charleston. Follow him on YouTube at Developing Leaders with Mac Lake.