As I mentioned in my last post, I was unable to attend the Gospel Coalition National Conference. However, in God’s kind providence, I was able to go up to Orlando for a couple of days to network with other church planters and network leaders, most notably Scott Thomas (Acts 29), Gary Rohrmayer (ConvergeUSA), and Steve Childers (GCA). These three men I have much to learn from and am grateful the opportunity the Lord gave me this past week.
If you can remember back in January, I attended the GCA National Church Planting Conference in Orlando for a week, and it was by far the most thorough and helpful church planting training I had ever received. What is different about GCA conferences than typical bootcamps is that they are very hands-on, practical, and seeking to engage your church planting needs in the context of where you are. Bootcamps are really important to attend as well, but they generally tend to focus on core values and guiding principles of a network rather than targeted training. In other words, bootcamps shape the culture of a network, and GCA training provides all the nuts and bolts for a church planter. Both are certainly needed!
During my time in Orlando last week, I was able to attend Steve Childer’s 3-session seminar on developing church planting networks. That seminar, along with a host of other free resources, are available here. At the close of the final session, I endeavored to ask Steve a question about the beginnings of something I’ve been a part of which ended up in six hours of fellowship, most of which was enjoyed at a local Panera.
It is often joked that GCA is “the best kept secret” in the church planting world. I told Steve that it is not right to be kept a secret when so many guys could and should benefit from their training. As a result, I am working to help them get networked online, beginning with social media. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, let me encourage you to get on board with GCA and follow the developments in the future. Here’s the links:
Furthermore, if you are in the church planting process–pre-launch or post-launch–let me encourage you to check out the GCA National Conference coming up July 21-24, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. The pre-launch track called Foundations is specifically geared to address all issues pertaining to the start of a new church, including the development of a solid church planting proposal. The Essentials track is a post-launch track addressing crucial components to a healthy, reproducing church.
Whether it is on Twitter, Facebook, or at one of their training seminar’s (or all of them!), let me encourage you to connect with GCA and benefit from years of gospel-centered labors of Steve Childers and his solid staff. You will be blessed with their passion for the gospel, their love for the church, and their commitment to train men for the mission!