The value of a Strong Core

The following is a diary entry written from the perspective of a person who is a core team member or early supporter in a project. A core team might be formal, or informal but can be understood as a group of people committed to serving and encouraging the project in practical & prayerful ways from its initial beginnings.

16/7/2001 Dear diary,

Today we hit our 11 month milestone. It has been a huge season working together to get things to this place. I’m feeling excited by the way the community is starting to respond. I didn’t imagine making friends, but these people are becoming part of my life, not just part of my Sunday. We’ve been so focussed on the day and the gathering I never imagined doing life with these new people. In all those prayer meetings in the early days at home, all our talk was about Sunday. I love that people are coming into the house during the week as well, it all feels natural. Any excuse to cook!! I can see Rachel is getting tired, she’s strummed that guitar faithfully for us from the start and getting her team going hasn’t been easy. How can we give her a break?? There is still a lot to do each week and only a handful of us. I feel we are on track with our intentions though – we set out to create a new and welcoming environment, to be open to whatever might occur. Weeks of empty chairs and cleaning the building before and after, now its starting to feel like a ‘thing’. It’s real. I’m worried about where we go next. What if Rachel isn’t the only tired one? Hugh is full of beans, since moving here with such a strong vision, he’s had to be patient, but now it is all happening. After today’s gathering he pulled me aside again to say how much he appreciates our help. I feel like all we did is cook and clean and that’s normal life anyway?? He’s sweet, its been good to feel valued. We’ve been part of something unique here. I pray it continues growing strong and that we can give some of the team a break soon, before they need it.


  • What stands out to you from about the diary entry above?
  • In your experience, what are the gifts & skills that are particularly valuable at the beginning of an idea, or project?
  • Have you ever been part of a core team, requiring significant responsibility or investment of time & resources? What was the experience like?
  • Imagine “Hugh”, the person with the vision/idea, was actually you. What kind of people or support would you surround yourself with?
  • It sounds like the project above is moving out of the startup phase into some growth, what kinds of things can go wrong at this moment?
  • Have you ever seen a team or project ‘pivot’ or ‘split’ away from their original vision? How might this kind of transition be handled well?

Wisdom from the pews

“The research found consistently the value of having a strong, committed team who offer creative gifts to the early life of a project. This provides stability, an intangible boost to growth and shares the load of the physical and emotional effort when things are more hope than reality. The creative gifts of music and hospitality along with a stable commitment are particularly helpful in a core team member. ”

“Core people have a sense of purpose even in doing the thankless work like putting out chairs and cleaning toilets. This group can expand and change as the project grows, but it is difficult to navigate any departures of core team members, especially if these aren’t openly discussed. The core group works best when it maintains a relational and open approach and stays tuned into the needs of the wider community.”

Going deeper