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The Send Institute is a think tank for evangelism and church planting in North America. It is a partnership of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center and the North American Mission Board. Read more from this column.
July 20, 2020Send Institute

Church Planting Leaders Fellowship

I can almost say for certain that, in our lifetime, there has never been a more appropriate time to think and talk about innovation in mission and church planting.
Church Planting Leaders Fellowship
Image: CPLF

I can almost say for certain that, in our lifetime, there has never been a more appropriate time to think and talk about innovation in mission and church planting.

About a year ago when we were planning the theme and deciding speakers for the Church Planting Leadership Fellowship’s summer gathering, we had no idea this year we would be meeting amid a pandemic. So it feels only right, and maybe even a little prophetic, that on July 28-29 church planting leaders from all over North America will be gathering virtually to learn and discuss research, development, and innovation in church planting.

This year’s speakers (who were selected long before any of us ever uttered the word “coronavirus”) may be the closest experts we have to what it means to lead churches and church planting strategies in a time of decentralization and digitization.

The line-up and topics speak for themselves:

  • Session 1: Brian Sanders on Micro Church Planting
  • Session 2: Sheryce Nguyen on Multihousing Church Planting
  • Session 3: Jeff Reed on Online Church Planting
  • Session 4 and 5: Len Sweet on Trends and Trajectories for Church Planting and Multiplication in the West
  • Session 6: Robin Wallar on Collegiate Church Planting

In addition to sharing how their movements and strategies are effectively seeing churches being planted, we’ll also hear how some of these movements are innovating during this time.

In a normal summer, CPLF meets on the campus of Wheaton College at the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. However, because of the unique circumstances of the pandemic, our gathering is moving to a total virtual experience. This means that the teams and staff of CPLF members will be able to participate as well, broadening the reach of this year’s content and speakers.

As mentioned in the Church Planting Manifesto for a 21st-Century North America, because of an unprecedented rate of change in demographics, culture, and how people think about faith and religious gatherings, innovation and collaboration must be ingrained into our church planting systems and processes. And now with the pandemic on hand, the opportunity for research and development is immense.

This summer’s CPLF will provide church planting leaders with vision and actual models of how some missional movements are effectively reaching people in a more decentralized and digitized fashion. And as we have seen over the last few months, the pandemic has thrust decentralization and digitization onto us whether we were ready or not.

What we have been calling a “new normal” is quickly becoming just normal.

If you lead church planting for a denomination or network, we would like for you to consider joining CPLF as a member. Our team will gladly be in touch with you to help you become part of our learning community. Just fill out the application form: newchurches.com/CPLF.

The CPLF is a partnership between the Send Institute, LifeWay Research, and NewChurches.com.

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