Last year, when I was starting to seriously consider planting a church, I was trying to find a way to get some training for the kind of church I felt I wanted to plant. It seemed to me a lot of church planter training “boot camps” were high on testosterone and bravado, but didn’t have a lot to say to someone like me, who wanted to plant a more “organic” natural-growth kind of church.
Through a friend (Dave Fitch) I found out about the Ecclesia Network, which ended up being a great fit for our church plant to associate with. After a few conversations with Chris Backert and JR Woodward (who mostly coordinate the network), I raised some money and attended their church planter training, which they call ??????? [aggelos – apparently my blogging engine can’t do the Greek letters?], which is a transliterated Greek word, pronounced like “angle awes”, meaning “one who is sent, a messenger from God”. I’m not sure why they actually spell it in Greek, incidentally. Makes it difficult for people to talk and blog about it. Maybe they should “re-brand” next year 😉
Anyway, our worship leader and I went to the training, and found it to be really helpful. Some of the great things about it:
- A great balance between theological and practical training,
- Because everyone stays in the same place (including the equippers/teachers), there was plenty of time to talk informally at lunch, in the evenings, etc.
- Takes place in an ecumenical monastery where you participate in their prayer rhythms during the day.
- There weren’t hundreds of people there, more like 20.
- Multiple voices were heard throughout the week. There was no “guru.”
This year’s training takes place May 17-21. Equippers this year include Jon Tyson, Dave Fitch, Bob Hyatt, JR Woodward, JR Briggs, Winn Collier, and Brian Hopper. I’ve met all of them, and I can tell you they are smart and experienced as well as humble and approachable. These are quality people.