* Disclaimer. Thanks to Mark C. for pointing out my goof. So read the following for clarification…
… The term, “Core Group” has been around for about the last 20 years and refers to a group of anywhere between 2 and 50, 60, 100 people who form the foundation for a church plant. The intention used to be that this core would be all the first leaders and elders and so forth—sometimes for the life of the church. The confusion in this series for some readers (although no one has said anything and I hope there hasn’t been any) has been that people use the word, ‘core’ for a whole host of other groups and things. Please understand as you read that I am referring to the use I just mentioned and nothing more. At Southbrook we have a wonderful group of volunteers and leaders (about 600 of them!) who make this place the awesome family that it is. THANK YOU! for all you do. I am not referring to you. I have another name for you. I call you the church! But Mark may be right in the confusion the word could cause so I hope this helps!
I also write to several different audiences with this one blog (and that can be challenging) and this series is alot more for leaders around the country than it is for our church members. And in writing of the different ways to start a church I must use the terms people are familiar with. A group of people starting a church plant has been called one thing for all this time—a ‘core’ group (see Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Church” for an accurate use of this term). For me to call it anything other than what it is would cause more confusion. Like wanting to talk about a Ford but you keep calling it a Toyota.
The good news is that the term is dying away as more and more churches are beginning with launch teams rather than core teams. That in and of itself is taking care of the Inherited problems common with the method of church planting during the 80’s and 90’s.
Please read with that in mind.
Now, on with the series…
Now, let’s try and wrap this thing up shall we?
First a couple ‘clarifications’ for the spiritual head hunters…
- Core groups aren’t bad—they just have some inherent dangers that make them a poor first choice for starting a brand new church.
- Beginning with a ‘core’ group does not automatically equal a slow painful death (the death might just as well be quick and painless).
- Launch teams don’t always equal success. They just equal success a whole lot more frequently then ‘core’ groups do.
Okay, can we move on now?
Why do I feel a launch team works better for planting a church than a core team does? Well, it’s really all in the name.
A core team seems to have an air of permanence to it. What happens if you get 2 years down the road and half the core team are clearly out of their element with the larger group of folks showing up? They were just fine in the living room setting when it was just the 8 of you, but now they are asserting themselves in areas they may or may not be spiritually qualified in. But what can you do? They are the core—the center of this thing. You can’t very well gut it right in the middle can you?
Not very easily. That’s for sure. And not without creating a great big mess.
But who knows? Maybe you’ll be one of the fortunate few in a hundred church plants where the core grows with the church, gives up their ‘rights’, reaches out to the lost and serves others unselfishly. But that’s the exception, not the rule.
A Launch team, on the other hand, seems to have a very temporal ring to it, wouldn’t you say? I mean, what happens if these same ‘difficulties’ arrive with these folks? One year out of the gate?
Nothing. Their job is done. You launched. The launch is over. Once the space shuttle is in orbit the people at the launch pad can go to Arby’s. It’s a wrap. They did what they set out to do and now whether they go any further in particular roles with the fledgling church can be determined on the basis of spiritual gifts rather than entitlement or popularity.
Everyone wins and the church can move forward to the next leg of God’s journey for that particular body of believers.
Hallelujah! All our problems are gone!
Except the main one for which I wrote this series in the first place.
There’s still the issue of passing on the spiritual genes. We’ll address that one tomorrow.