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My First Acts 29 Boot Camp

My First Acts 29 Boot Camp

By Pastor Scott Thomas, President of Acts 29

In May 2003, Tyler Powell and I flew out to Seattle for our first live experience with Acts 29. We had called Mars Hill to see if we could meet with Mark Driscoll. He was planting churches and we wanted to plant a church in Denver. They told us they had a boot camp the week we were inquiring and they invited us to attend.

About 40 men and women attended the boot camp and we met in the foyer of Mars Hill’s newly acquired building in a former hardware store. Board members, Mark Driscoll, Rick McKinley and director Eric Brown led the lively discussion about planting a missional church. We laughed, we cried, we pondered and we were changed. It was information that we had not experienced, but it was an intentional, strategic passion for pursuing the mission of God that really impacted us. I also met some strategic men at that event: Darrin Patrick (running about 100 in attendance at the time), Tyler Jones (now leading the Southeast region) and Jeff Vanderstelt (now Vice President and leader over Soma Communities).

After the boot camp, Tyler and I went to Northgate Mall and processed everything we had heard. We made an Excel file that shaped how we led a church on mission for the glory of God. We were accepted in to membership into Acts 29. The experience changed both of our lives in a dramatic way.

Tyler now serves as church planting strategist for Acts 29 and he processes hundreds of applicants every year. I push a truck around in the sand and make noises while I dream about how Acts 29 Network will plant 600 more churches in the next four years.

How was your first boot camp?

Next Boot Camp in Chicago on Sept 15. Register here.
See other Upcoming Boot Camps here


John Fooshee

on Aug 16, 2011 :: 6:13 pm

My first boot camp was on an October week some three years later. My wife and I left the kids at home and flew up with our teammates (Jim & Karen Fickley) to Troy, NY. The weather was nice, the leaves were at their peak, the pizza was perfect and Terra Nova’s venue taught us that we just were not cool enough.

Previously, the only exposure I had had of Acts 29 was through an article. I really didn’t have much a clue was I was walking into. At the boot camp, I found Mark Driscoll & Ed Marcelle simply hysterical. I soaked up every word Darrin Patrick spoke (and have never quit). Jonathan McIntosh put my team in tears over Driscoll’s assessment of him. And Daniel Montgomery talked up Gospel-centered theology. That one got me. That’s because while he spoke my wife nodded her head the whole time, but honestly, I simply didn’t “get it.”

Following the boot camp was my assessment. As I talked to the guys walking out of their assessments, I had this strange sensation that A29 was new at it. No matter, I walked in confident. After all, I had planted a church before, knew what I was doing and thought I would dazzle my assessors with my planting prowess. It’s no wonder then that my assessment was such a shock.

After some time of affirmation, God’s prophet, Daniel Montgomery, leaned into me and had the guts to ask me the tough questions that no one had ever asked. Confused, I began to unravel. Thankfully, God sent some priests in there too, J.R. Vassar & Mike Cosper, who helped me put together some pieces. While I knew the men were on my side, I walked out dazed. If you remember Scott, about an hour later, I pulled you aside to defend myself. Of course, you had no idea what had happened. But you handled me with the skill of what we would now call a “Gospel Coach.”

The experience wrecked me in a most holy way. It drove me back to the scriptures and my seminary books to reconstruct a theology that was built on Jesus Christ alone. After nine months, I would look back at the boot camp and my assessment and declare that the whole experience was straight from the hand of God. Shortly thereafter, I told my assessment team about how the Gospel had re-educated me. They affectionately welcomed me into A29.

What can I say? God used the men of that first boot camp to bless me with rejoicing in the Gospel. Since that time, God has raised up man after man in this network to do the same.