Church planting is hard. It can get lonely. Planters need to build one another up, remind each other of our collective mission and have an opportunity to seek God’s face through worship and prayer together.
That’s why I look forward so much to Planting Collective – the biennial one-day conference aimed at supporting independent churches that are, or are thinking about, starting new churches.
This year’s event will be held at St Paul’s Hammersmith, London, on 22 May. Run jointly by Acts 29, Co-Mission and FIEC, we hope that hundreds of people will gather to hear our keynote speakers, take part in seminars, and share fellowship and worship.
I love that our conference has three key objectives at its core. First, it gets church planters from different networks in a room together.
It’s our desire to connect, unite and encourage pastors and planters from the different conservative evangelical networks across the UK. With our own priorities and ways of doing things in our networks, Planting Collective reminds us of our collective passion, collective mission and our focus – the salvation of many for the glory of God.
Second, it gets church planters from the different networks learning from each other.
We have so much to learn from one another, with all of us working in different contexts and communities with a variety of challenges and blessings. At Planting Collective, we are fortunate enough to learn from proven practitioners from across the networks.
Traditionally, the highlights of the day have been the practical seminars, and we expect this year to continue in that vein. Lee McMunn from AMiE will walk us through gathering a team to plant in an urban context. Dai Hankey, a church planter from Cardiff, will speak on recruiting and coaching the next generation of planters. Pete Nicholas, of Inspire St James, will share wisdom about gathering an enduring team to plant in the city centre, and Mike Reith from Becontree Church, Dagenham, will talk about planting and sustaining multicultural churches.
Third, the event gets church planters from the different networks excited about the same things.
2020 Birmingham Co-Chair Neil Powell and Co-Mission CEO Richard Coekin will be leading our main sessions as we focus on the future. We’ll be seeking to understand that our work is essential because of the reality of hell faced by those who do not hear and respond to the gospel.
If you’re involved in independent church planting, or aspire to be, then my advice is to come along on 22 May. Bring a team and split-up to cover as many of the seminars as you can! Have coffee and lunch with other planters, and compare notes with your team members on the journey home.
The day will begin with registration and coffee at 9.30am, and close at 5pm. Tickets cost £40 per person (£20 for full-time students and people who are out of work). It’s going to be a terrific time of great encouragement, so what are you waiting for?
More information about Planting Collective, and how to book tickets, is available at plantingcollective.org.uk