A Really Aggressive Team Model

14 07 2008

I found this team church planting model in an appendix of a somewhat obscure book from the mid-1980s. This appendix was written by an ABWE missionary named Mel Cuthbert describing the model they were attempting to use for church planting in Brazil. Basically it works like this (in my own words):

  1. Four men make it their goal to plant five churches. They have a balance of gifts: evangelism (A), teaching (B), youth/music (C), administration (D).
  2. They choose a sizable target area with a need for several churches.
  3. A/B/C help start church #1 with D as the pastor.
  4. A few months later, B/C/D help start ahurch #2 with A as the pastor.
  5. This continues two more times, until all four men pastor their own churches.
  6. By this point, church #1 is ready to be handed over to national pastor, so that D can go start another church.

Certainly this is unrealistic and possibly unhealthy in most church planting settings (especially since Cuthbert suggests this can all happen in one year!). But I do love the fact that they are thinking outside the box about team ministry! Cuthbert listed these problems that often arise in situations where team is neglected in favor of lone ranger church planting:

  • “The church easily becomes a missionary-centered work…. The work is often referred to as ‘Missionary Doe’s church’.”
  • “The missionary often becomes personally if not intimately involved in the work and tends to control and hang on for fear others may not do as good a job.”
  • “The strengths and weaknesses of the [one] worker become reflected in the work. Often a certain type of people is attracted, rather than a good balance.”
  • “The new churches rarely exceed attendance of 100-150 in areas that should be more fruitful.”

Though there are some obvious weaknesses in this model, I think his comments are worth our careful consideration.

from Church Planter’s Manual, by Harold E. Amstutz, Cherry Hill, NJ: ABWE, Inc., 1985.



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7 05 2013
Melbourne Cuthbert

This model was suggested for high density populations and must be adapted to the culture. This plan was contemplated in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1974. We had the potential leaders. One week after discussing it a car accident affected 4 of the 5 candidates. Two lost their wives, including myself. Mre details plus my experience in church planting in Brazil can be found in my recently published auto-biography entitle, “From Mud Hole to Mission Field’. Available from Amazon and on Kindle..

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