London Church Planting Conference - Day One
Acts 29 Church Planting Foundations Conference
Over 100 men from 12 different countries assembled at St James Church in Clerkenwell for the inaugural Acts 29 Church Planting Conference to launch Acts 29 in Western Europe and to establish Steve Timmis as its Director. The men were anxious to learn and to interact with other church planters and church planting leaders.
Standing on the outside of the church in London where we are having the conference.
“Church is the result of mission and the means of mission,” said Steve Timmis. He argued that the New Testament is a model for mission. It is reaching out where there are no existing works of gospel evangelism. Steve said that every church is called to be a church planting church. Church planting was not vital to evangelism; it is central to it. Steve illustrated it through Acts 13 where the local church sensed a call to proclaim the gospel by planting churches. They chose Paul and Barnabas, their senior pastor and associate. They didn’t choose the interns who had just finished Bible College. They chose their best men. Church planting doesn’t happen circumstantially, but rather intentionally.
Over 100 men from 12 different countries attended the Church Planting Conference. The men were intrigued, challenged, energized and eager to learn.
David Fairchild led a session on “Keeping the Gospel Church” from the Book of Galatians chapter one. David summarized the gospel as “Jesus Christ, God’s promised rescuer and ruler lived our life, died our death and rose again in triumphant vindication as the first-fruits of the new creation to bring forgiven sinners together…under His gracious reign as His Kingdom people.“ David urged the attendees to make an unwavering commitment to the gospel in our church planting. He identified 10 ways we have a tendency to distort the gospel.
- Prosperity (health and wealth)
- Sectarianism (only for a few)
- Easy believism without repentance
- Passivism (being “nice”)
- Works-based faith
The men enjoyed periods of worship and filled the old church (built in 1796) with robustly sung hymns.
Jeff Vanderstelt led a session about “Being a Leader who Grows Leaders.” He pointed out the fact that Jesus’ Great Commission includes making disciples. If our churches are not raising leaders, then we are not making disciples who can make disciples. This same mandate is found in Deut. 6 where fathers are to raise children who will raise children. A good Dad raises his children to lead their own families, not to keep their 40-year old children in their basements. A good church planter raises up leaders who will lead, sometimes better than the planter. 2 Timothy 2:1-2 encourages us to develop leaders who will develop other leaders.
In the final session of the day, David Fairchild talked about “Keeping a Gospel Heart” and he confessed the difficulties he had when he planted Kaleo church out of a heart of anger and not a heart of gospel. He made an interesting statement. He said “It is possible to preach about Christ without preaching the gospel.”
Our day ended with a quick trip to the spectacular St. Paul’s Cathedral (where Princess Di and Prince Charles were married) and then pizza with the volunteers of the Church Planting Foundations Conference.
Taken from the Inside of St Paul's about the same time Tyler (and the security guard) told me it says "No Photography." Oops.
Tomorrow, Steve Timmis, Jeff Vanderstelt and I will share with the men who are eager to learn and network with us.