I am traveling Sunday, February 25th to Orlando, FL for the Exponential church planting and multiplication conference. They claim it is the largest annual gathering of church planters on the planet.
I have been to this conference several times, but it has been a few years. Previously when I attended Exponential it was for networking and picking up a few new resources and ideas to use in my church and denominational consulting practice.
Now I have a different agenda. As the director of a Baptist association in the Midlands of South Carolina that includes almost 100 congregations, I am interested in best practices for starting new congregational expressions using a church sponsorship approach.
I believe church planting movements have swung too far towards church planters starting churches, rather than churches starting churches—which is generally a much better North American approach.
In my own association, we are anticipating a 250,000-population growth in the next 25 years. We will need upwards to 100 new congregational expressions of various types. To achieve this will require a prophetic movement of congregations who commit to be multiplying congregations who start multiple new congregational expressions.
I suspect there are fewer great best practices of churches starting churches than there once were since beginning in the 1990s the pendulum swung towards church planters starting churches and churches starting multi-sites. Both are good, but are they enough, and do they create a synergy or silos approach in the overall churching pattern?
What are your thoughts?
I will post regularly on my experiences and reflections at Exponential. Check back regularly Sunday through Thursday for my posts. Feel free to comment on them for my edification. I want to do a lot of learning this week, and you can help. I have been involved in church planting from the time I was born 67 years ago into the home of a church planter. However, learning must be continual, relevant, and up-to-date.