Here is an email I sent out to denomination and network leaders in the United States and Canada. If you fit that description, you might be interested in reading the content below.
If you are a church planting leader interested in any of the things mentioned, please email us at research[at]lifeway[.]com.
I am sending you this email because you are on a list of church planting leaders we have gathered over the years. I wanted to tell you about an upcoming event, fill you in on a now-forming network, tell you about some coaching networks we are forming, and ask you about church planting among first generation immigrant groups.
First, let me remind you about the event.
As you know, the Exponential Conference, April 20-23, 2009, has grown to become the largest gathering of church planters in the country each year. This year promises to be particularly valuable as the focus is on "movements," those rapidly reproducing groups of church plants we want to see here in the states.
The "Best Practices Forum" is a part of The Exponential Conference and I have the privilege of coordinating that track.
Here is the "official" listing of that program:
Exponential Conference Best Practices ForumThe Best Practices Forum is designed for church planting leaders in churches, networks, and denominations to learn about and dialogue around church planting best practices. Ed Stetzer facilitates the track each year. At this year's event, a Church Planting Leadership Fellowship will be announced for leaders of networks and denominations that wish to be collaborate around church planting ideas.
The schedule for this year is as follows:
Ed Stetzer: "Research Into Church Planting."
Ed Stetzer will provide a quick overview of new research, new resources, and future collaboration for the future.
Steve Johnson: "What We Learned from TEAM America and How We are Applying it to Foster a Movement Today."
Steve Johnson was part of a church planting emphasis in the North Central states that planted 500 churches in a 15-year period. Today, he coordinates the work of Vision360, an organization perhaps best known for its connection with Al Weiss, president of World Wide Operations for Disney World, who has gathered business leaders to help create regional church planting partnerships. Steve will share lessons learned in TeamAmerica and how they are seeking to promote a movement today.
Scott Thomas: "How Acts29 Fosters a Multiplication Mindset."
Acts 29 has become a "go to" church planting network, with a strong focus on mobilizing church planters who often plant in resistant urban contexts. In just a few years, Acts 29 has grown from a small regional network into a peer-to-peer network of hundreds of churches engaged in church planting here in the United States and around the world. Scott will share how Acts 29 creates a culture that fosters church planting passion and sacrifice.
David Garrison and Ed Stetzer: "Where's My Movement?"
David Garrison, author of Church Planting Movements, and Ed Stetzer, author of Planting Missional Churches, will share the results of their collaboration on church planting movements-- and why there are none among the 34 Western Industrialized Democracies among majority peoples.
I hope to see you there on Monday and Tuesday (in addition to the rest of the conference, of course!) You can find more information about the conference by going to www.exponentialconference.com.
The paper David Garrison and I are writing will be distributed to all attendees of the conference. The CD is provided and produced by the International Mission Board. It will include our new paper, research on North American church planting, global resources on church planting movements, and resources from the conference itself.
Now, information about the now-forming network:
The Mission America Coalition has asked me to convene a Church Planting Leadership Network to help denominational leaders connect and collaborate around church planting.
At the Best Practices Forum of the Exponential Conference, we will give more details about the "Church Planting Leadership Network." This network will be for denominational leaders in charge of church planting for their denomination or in the case of large denominations, their state or district leaders of church planting.
We will meet three times in 2009, once in Orlando at the Exponential Conference in the "Best Practices Forum." Then, we will meet again in Nashville on August 24-25 (and, yes, Nashville is a great meeting city). Finally, we will meet again in the fall at a date to be determined later.
If you are interested in being a part or just want more information, just email at the address above and we will share more in the coming days.
There may be an additional group that helps networks and network leaders connect together, but we have not decided on that quite yet. If you would be interested in that, please let me know.
Finally, here is some information about Coaching Networks.
The good news is that church planting is on the rise within denominations, and the majority of successful plants have also partnered with a network that provides support and counsel. Those who try to plant a church without that support are at greater risk and have less chance of survival. In fact, we've found that out of those who are part of a peer group, 83% of their churches survive in contrast to 67% survival of those who are not.
This spring, LifeWay has partnered with NEXT Churches to help lead pastors of established churches develop their leadership skills and grow their churches through networks. As part of this joint venture, we are pioneering a collaborative effort to help these same established church networks start new churches within their denomination. We want to witness a true church planting movement in North America, to produce better and more consistent results in church planting.
If you are interested in these coaching networks, email us at coachingnetworks[at]lifeway[.]com.
Thanks for your interest in church planting!