Planters need team members of deep godliness, Payne says

Communications Staff — May 28, 2009

J.D. Payne, director of the Church Planting Center at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, identified eight characteristics to look for in potential members of a church planting team at the Missional Church Planting conference May 14 at Sojourn Community Church. Payne further develops these factors in his book, ‘The Barnabas Factors: Eight Essential Practices of Church Planting Team Members.’

While many individuals plant churches on their own, Scripture presents a model of team planting, Payne said.

‘There are too many lone rangers out there and that is not helpful,’ he said. ‘Sure, God has used many people who have planted churches by themselves. The Lord does work through that. But I think that throughout the New Testament, particularly with the apostle Paul, the believers there worked as a team.’

Payne said in developing church planting teams, you need to refrain from using the ‘air-love test:’ if someone breathes in air and loves Jesus then they are automatically welcome on your church planting team.

Instead, he said church planters and churches should look for people who: (1) walk with the Lord, (2) maintain outstanding character, (3) serve in the local church, (4) remain faithful to the call, (5) share the Gospel regularly, (6) raise up leaders, (7) encourage others with speech and actions and (8) respond appropriately to conflict.

Payne said these eight factors are found in the life of Barnabas, who greatly assisted with expansion of Christ’s kingdom in its early stages. These qualities are outward manifestations of an inward character, Payne said, and they are identified as someone lives in community with other people.

Payne said walking with the Lord is foundational to the other seven characteristics.

‘The characteristic of walking with the Lord enables the group to know how to live in relationship to God, the other team members and the lost,’ he said. ‘You want people on your team who are sold out to Jesus. They may not be in the limelight or have a dynamic personality but you need to know that they have come out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light and every day they are dying to self.’

Building on one’s daily relationship with Christ, Payne said sharing the Gospel regularly and raising up leaders are the two key factors to look for in potential members of church planting teams.

Payne’s third book, “Discovering Church Planting: An Introduction the Whats, Whys, and Hows of Global Church Planting,” (Paternoster) is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2009.

To read the live blog of Payne’s presentation, visit

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