Last Wednesday was the Co-Mission ‘Planting for Christ’ Conference. It was a good day. There was a good turn out, though not as many came as did last year. Mark Driscoll must’ve been quite a pull. The talks from the conference are now available here.
I left the day (early if truth be told – to pick up various children) hugely encouraged. I missed Al Stewart’s talk but I got Richard’s and two seminars.That was enough for me. I was hugely stimulated. The conference aims to be ‘Biblical, Missional and Practical’. And it did it for me in each of those areas.
Richard’s talk was especially helpful in causing me to re-examine the biblical principles that underpin and inform my passion for church planting.If you only listen to one talk from the conference, this should probably be it. It was excellent. Look out for his lightning summary of some of Ed Stetzer’s comments choosing church planters. There’s real wisdom in his observations.
I came away wanting to plant another church. In that sense the conference helped me to be missional. I’m desperate to think about how we at CCB can launch another congregation to reach another area with the gospel. I don’t want to lose the recklessness of youth as I move into middle age. Wisdom tempers the arrogance of the young but old men can become worryingly conservative. I’d rather have a go and fail than wait till all the ducks are in a row and never get round to it.
Justin Mote’s and Andrew Evans’ seminar made me think about what we’re doing and how we’re trying to do it. Andrew was very gracious in answering a barrage of questions (largely from me, I think) about the practical details of what they did, where they did it and how they did it. That’s just so helpful for practitioners!
Dex has managed to record both the main talks, as you might expect. But he’s also recorded some of the seminars.
I’m looking forward to hearing what William Taylor had to say about ‘Priorities in City Centre Plants’. I’ll be amazed if it’s not teaching the Bible! But I’ll get back to you on that. Mike Cain took a seminar on preaching that’ll be pure gold. Andy Patterson talked about congregational identity and planting networks, which is something we face within Co-Mission.
You can get the talks here.
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The second Co-Mission day conference ‘Planting for Christ’ is on Wednesday 21st March this year. The theme of the day is ‘The Mission of the Church’.
No doubt they’ll be interacting with some of the material in Greg Gilbert’s and Kevin de Young’s book. At least that’s what I’m assuming since Richard hasn’t ever read Christian books for fun and it’s been open on his desk for weeks!
The aims of the conference are stated as follows
- To explore Biblical principles that shape contemporary church-planting so we’re not just pragmatic but driven by God’s Word
- To encourage Missional priorities for making disciples of all nations so we’re not just growing networks but reaching unbelievers with the gospel
- To share Practical wisdom from proven church planters for British urban contexts so we’re not just theoretical but effective
and so to glorify Christ, the Saviour and Lord of the church who is our motivation, model and message.
Richard Coekin and Al Stewart are the main speakers, though that’s a little unfair. There are more than ten main speakers. Half of the day is given over to seminars which allows for a good deal of flexibility in choice.
I’m interested in hearing what Steve Timmis has to say about ‘Nurturing missional Godliness in Plants’ in the first session. Though it’ll be a shame to miss hearing William Taylor on ‘Priorities in City Centre Plants’. Phil Allcock and Pete Woodcock on ‘Making Disciples One to One’ will be gold dust. I’m going to send our staff to different seminars and tell them to take extensive notes. Or record it on their mobile!
In the second seminar session Justin Mote’s session on ‘Deciding where to Plant’ should be stimulating and Roo Standring and Paul Dawson’s answer to ‘Planting with or despite the C of E’ will undoubtedly be informed by their contrasting experiences north and south of the river Thames!
You can find further details of the day here. You’ll find the complete list of seminars there.
You can book a place via the Good Book website here.
I work for Co-Mission and so you’d expect me to say this, but I think it looks great. The number of different speakers is exciting. They come from different countries. For example Al Barth is from the USA and Al Stewart is from Australia. The contexts the speakers work in are very different. For example Steve Casey works on a northern council estate, Mike Cain in the suburban south and William Taylor in the city centre. Theologically the speakers’ convictions will be pretty similar. So whilst there won’t be the nervous excitement we enjoyed last year when Mark Driscoll got up to speak, there’ll be the settling confidence of knowing that we’re all on the same page!
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The mp3 talks from the Planting for Christ conference are now available on the Co-Mission website. I heard Richard Coekin’s talk from Romans 15 on on why we should church plan. Essentially he argued that we should church plant to glorify Christ and to reach the unreached. Hard to argue with that! I heard most of Mark Driscoll’s talk, which was more about how to lead than who should lead. Nevertheless it’s well worth a listen. Some of the older guys who remembered said that Mark’s style and prophetic analysis of our cultural idols reminded them of Phillip Jensen in the 1980s. I’m not sure what Phillip would make of that or Mark, for that matter. Markpoint that no-one else in the history of the world had the opportunity to preach the gospel to 2 billion people made me realise just how much more the Bishop of London should have said. He touches on that!
I Mark afterwards because we interviewed him for the website; lovely man. It’s easy to see why guys follow him; he’s warm, witty, self effacing and a shrewd operative. Richard and Mark sat on the sofa and chatted about ministry, mistakes and so on. Mark was very relaxed and very assured in his answers. Richard was very aware that not everyone in the wider evangelical constituency on either side of the pond is unqualifiedly positive about Mark’s style! Have I put that right?! But it was heartening to hear Mark talk about repentance for past mistakes, the way he’s benefited from the advice and wisdom of older saints in the US and he even promised not to say anything that’d cause me to lose my job at the London Men’s Convention this Saturday. That remains to be seen! And it’s not really a job; more of a hobby.
I especially enjoyed hearing about the type of people Mars Hill are reaching with the gospel. It’s not middle class Surrey, that’s for sure! His context is so very different to ours. It made me realise that the people he counsels in Death by Love aren’t fictional.
The interview should be uploaded some time soon; when Dex pulls his finger out. And we’ve edited out the lewdness and swearing. Just kidding. We’ll leave that in. They’re the best bits.
Not all the seminars were recorded. Ed’s, Andy’s and mine wasn’t deemed worthy of recording for posterity. I’m trying not to take that personally or, as a negative assessment of my ministry by my boss and his administrator. I’m over it now.
The good news is that almost all of my material is available online. I’ve posted it here. It’s stuff on apprenticeships from the perspective of church planting. It’s not rocket science but I hope it’s helpful.
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We’re just about to go public on a new church planting day conference. It’s called Planting for Christ. It’s on 4th May 2011. It’s at the Factory, Raynes Park, London SW20. You can find details here.
An ever increasing number of us have been meeting up a couple of times a year to talk about the nuts and bolts of church planting. And it’s been invaluable in helping me think through the judgment calls in ministry situations. I’ve mentioned the benefits before, when I blogged on it here.
Of the main attractions at the conference, I’d identify the following
1. Mark Driscoll will be speaking on ‘Who can plant churches?’, which given his experience with Acts 29 should be insightful and full of wisdom. But I can also imagine him ruffling a few feathers with some of his observations.
2. Richard Coekin will be speaking on ‘Why should we plant churches?’ It’ll be good to see how much Richard can add to Tim Keller’s material on this.
3. But it’s the seminar streams that I’d be most excited about. I happen to be doing one. But that’s not my point. Ed, Andy and I will talk about trying to identify, recruit and managed limited resources in a church plant but that’s about as far as I’ve got in my thinking on the matter. I’ll let you know whether it’ll be worth coming along to. But I’d be excited about the others. It’s an extraordinarily good line up of speakers. I can’t think of another conference where you’d get access to the likes of
- Perkin (that’s Paul from St Mark’s Battersea Rise),
- Barth (that’s Al from Redeemer and Tim Keller’s right hand man),
- Powell (Neil, planter and blogger),
- Timmis (Steve, of Crowded House, Acts 29 Europe Director and Total Church fame),
- Green (Chris, Oak Hill VP),
- Koleoso (Tope, Jubilee Church and New Frontiers mover and shaker),
- Smallwood (Simon, UPA church planting pioneer in Dagenham) and
- Dowdy (St Helen’s Bishopsgate church planter in Dulwich).
That’s a good cross-section of Reformed Evangelicalism.
I’m hoping for mates rates.
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