Aquila and Priscilla Partners (A&Ps) are families, couples or individuals who come from another church and minister as a layperson alongside the church planter in a mission church. A&Ps serve under the jurisdiction of Church Extension Ministries (CEM) of the Bible Fellowship Church (BFC). Aquila & Priscilla Partners offer their time, energy and financial support to a mission church. These partners in ministry may be sent out by a church and may be considered “home missionaries.”
A&Ps focus on assisting the church planter and the mission. They will become a part of the body life of the mission church, serving with their particular gifts.
- A&Ps commit time, energy, financial support, and attendance to a mission church according to their availability.
- A&Ps are volunteers.
- A&Ps are assigned duties by the church planter that will assist the mission church in its development. The church planter will provide on-site supervision for the A&P.
- A&Ps work alongside the church planter and the people in the mission church in order to encourage and assist them.
- A&Ps discuss with the church planter a plan for involvement which will include length of stay at the mission church, gifts and abilities that can be used, and areas of interest.
- A&Ps can serve on the Administrative Teams (A-Teams) of the mission churches if asked.
- A&Ps should pay attention to the mission’s vision and goals. They should study the BFC Church Planting Guide and Handbook, the TEAM Structure booklet, and other materials CEM has available.
- A&Ps are invited to the CEM Training Days.
- A&Ps act as ambassadors from their sending churches. They keep the sending church informed about the mission church and encourage prayer from the sending church on behalf of the mission church they serve.
- A&Ps will become active in the evangelistic essentials of church planting: i.e. outreach, contacting and inviting people to the mission.
- A&Ps will count the cost to be involved with this partnership ministry. They should consider a two to three year commitment to the mission church they serve.
Items for Consideration
- The Cost – Church planting is the most challenging ministry in the Kingdom. To begin a church from nothing is a risky endeavor. Some key things to consider:
Are you flexible? First, if you have children, you may need to improvise your church involvements since most church plants do not begin programs until the second or third year. Second, church plants try varying ways to reach people with the Gospel and gather people into the mission. If one project does not work you must be prepared to try another. This may become frustrating for some people. (Rom.11:33; Isa. 2:3; 55:8)
Are you relational? Church planting is built on contacting and networking with people. This has several implications. First, personal evangelism is a big part of church planting. Second, going out into communities and contacting people is required. Third, spending time with people and building relationships is essential. Any relational ministry has disappointments and heartaches. (Mt.12:46-49)
Are you humble? Church plants are babies which need care and attention. This might mean taking on what some call menial tasks. It calls for sacrificing at times, being uncomfortable in rented facilities, doing without resources most churches take for granted and being patient while waiting for God to provide. (Phil.2:3)
Are you innovative and/or a hard worker?A church plant needs people who are entrepreneurs, able to start-up and complete projects. If you are not entrepreneurial, then you may be a hard worker who can carry out the work of a project.
(II Thes. 3:7,8)
Are you a person of faith? Faith is seeing things not yet visible (Heb.11:1). Will you take risks for the Kingdom?
- The Commitment – Church planting takes time. CEM has a five-year plan for planting churches and it could take ten years to plant urban and ethnic churches. We cannot put a timeline on God but the point to be made is that a commitment of at least two to three years is needed. Be prepared to make a significant commitment.
- The Confirmation – You must determine that this is God’s will for you. Pray and pray some more. Seek the counsel of your pastor, elders, Christian friends and CEM. Engage your family in your prayers and discussions. Seek God’s confirmation and be in agreement to take this step of faith in ministry.
- The Conclusion – There is no ministry more challenging and so rewarding as church planting. You will see people saved and discipled. You will experience a baby church going through its stages as it becomes a self-supporting, mature, worshipping community of faith. Few things compare to the blessings of church planting.
The Steps to Take
#1 – Contact the director of CEM and make an appointment to meet with him.
E-mail – CEMoffice@bfc.org or call 610-769-4337.
#2 – Review the materials received from CEM. Begin praying for the Lord’s leading. Discuss the matter with your pastor and have him contact the director of Church Extension if he has any questions. Recruit others to pray for you.
#3 – Consider where you might serve. Pray for the mission churches in which you have interest. Contact the church planter and plan to visit with him.
#4 – If you believe God wants you to serve as an A&P contact the director of CEM to arrange a second interview. The director will review your materials, discuss your investigation and confirm your commitment to serve as an A&P.
#5 – Contact your pastor and ask him to discuss with the elders of your church your desire to serve as an A&P.
#6 – Following approval by the director of CEM, contact the church planter and arrange for a meeting to discuss a plan for serving at the mission church.
#7 – If the elders of your church are in favor of you serving as an A&P, ask the church to arrange a commissioning service in coordination with the director of CEM (See format included in this booklet).
#8 – CEM will make regular contacts with you and review your ministry, as well as assist you with your service at the mission church.
If you are interested in becoming an A&P Team or Individual, please email CEMoffice@bfc.org.