Jeff Christopherson on How Churches Can Expand by Sending Co-Vocational Teams

Now that we have a leader in place and a team of complementary gifts established, we are now ready to institute a process for sending them into the harvest. I propose that the sixth step required to establish a culture of multiplication in the local church is to prepare and send co-vocational teams.

What is Co-Vocationalism?

A few years ago, I was trying to create a new, vocational imagination within our church planting network, www.sendnetwork.com. We needed a mindset that both valued the sacred calling within the “secular” workplace and leveraged the calling as a kingdom parish for a stout gospel ministry in church planting. The problem was, the only word that we had at the time was “bi-vocation” – the prefix ‘bi’, means two. Two competing ideas. A division of focus. We use this prefix in words such as bisect or bifurcate. It becomes an incongruent schism of the whole.

Very often, it seems, a bi-vocational pastor or church planter had two vocations that were not aligned into a singular vision. One paid the bills. It was a necessary secular evil in order to fulfill the true and legitimate calling of the sacred. If the outside employment could go away and there were enough finances from the church readily available for full employment, that would be the obvious preference.

This idea, although familiar to both our clerical preferences and our ecclesiastical history, is quite foreign to our Scriptures. We needed a new term, a symbol that conveyed a congruent harmonization of work and ministry.

The prefix ‘co’ comes from the Latin, com, meaning with or together. We use it with words like, co-author or co-pilot. It connotes two different things working synergistically together for greater impact. Co-vocationalism is two vocations aligned within one calling and one life purpose that are focused on Jesus’ kingdom.

1. Own Your Commission

2. Take Spiritual Responsibility for Your Jerusalem

3. Make and Multiply Kingdom Disciples

4. Live off of Less

5. Prime the Pump

6. Send Co-Vocational Teams

7. Add in order to Sustain Multiplication

8. Continually Celebrate Kingdom Advance

A Non-Reproducible Model

The normative church planting imagination in our subculture is to send a fully-funded church planter into a community in order to open a new congregation. The previous step in our process, “Prime the Pump,” brought some perspective and correction to this common understanding. Rather than sending a solo church planter, I proposed sending church planting teams made up of diverse leaders with complementary gifts. But this alone won’t make our planting efforts more effective or efficient. We also must think about the funding mechanism. Teams have long been the fabled silver bullet for church planting success – the problem has always been directly connected to financial support.

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Source: Christianity Today