It can be scary for the sending church to send out temporary launch team members to help a church plant. But it can be a blessing to that church, the workers, and to the church plant.
The Kingdom Math
There are no guarantees in ministry. But I have seen this pattern: both the church plant and the sending church get blessed. The church plant because it gets the critical mass it needs to avoid low birth weight. The sending church because it re/connects with mission, and because it cycles its own leadership and volunteer pool:
I serve in church planting today, in part, because in 1999 others were recruited from my church to be temporary launch team members. My pastor announced that we’d be planting a church in the next city over and that we’d be sending some of our best and brightest out to serve. Which meant that those riding the bench would have to step up and fill the gaps they left. I decided that was something I could sink my teeth into, something I could give my life to.
Sending out temporary launch team members certainly is unpredictable, but you never know who you might activate when you do.
And I could give you several stories of churches that ended up with higher attendance after they send out temporary launch team members.
Of course, some of the temporary launch team members may fall in love with the new church. They may get so interwoven into the fabric of the church plant that they decide to move from SWAT Team members to Servants Willing And Permanent.
In the end, this seems to work itself out, too. After 6 months, the sending church has back-filled their vacancy and feels the pressure less. Or the sending church doubles down on investing in church planting and figures out a way to make it work.
When the Church is openhanded enough to send out temporary launch team members to church plants, there’s opportunity for everyone to win.