Monday, October 20, 2008

NCLI Church Planting Conference

Well, I did a lousy job blogging as I attended the NCLI Church Planting Conference last week in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was because I had to do homework most nights when the conference was over at 6pm. It was a "little sleep" event- I ran off of adrenaline mostly. It was a good conference. They have made quite a few good adjustments since I last attended a few years ago. I am somewhat pleased that there were very few surprise insights to church planting. Hopefully this means I have attended enough of these events that I have learned a good portion of the information needed to get a church off the floor. My favorite speaker was Dr. Elaine Heath from Perkins School of Theology. She has created communities of people that are monastic/evangelistic in nature. They are folks that are tired of the traditional church model that sucks up huge amounts of resources in order to survive. I really relate to what she was saying. Many of our churches lose their missional goals out of survival: keeping the building going, paying the staff, etc. These are communities of people that meet mostly in homes. They worship together, experience genuine community (sometimes even living together) and serve together in a very missional way that often involves not just serving the poor, but knowing the poor. If you are interested, Dr. Heath has two books out that approach this emerging model of church and community:

The Mystic Way of Evangelism, Elaine A. Heath

Longing for spring; a new vision for Methodist ministry, Dr. Elaine Heath

Overall, the conference was a good investment of time. It also represented the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I've very excited to begin life as a senior pastor either in a current UM church or a new church plant opportunity. I've had to meditate and pray quite a bit lately to get my heart to stop racing. And now for homework:)

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