Generation church planter reflects on recent US church planting conference visits
In the autumn I had the privilege of attending two church planting events in the USA.
The first was the City to City International Intensive in New York. City to City started through Redeemer Presbyterian Church and developed a church planting training program designed to prepare and equip pastors for planting new churches in cities across the world. Through a course of set reading and classroom teaching, we considered how the gospel applies to our own life, marriage and ministry, as well as our church, community and city.
The learning experience was highly interactive, grounded in the Scriptures and practical, forcing us to work through the principles for our different contexts. We were taught by Tim Keller, John Thomas, Robert Elkin, Mark Reynolds, Robert Guerrero from City to City. One of the most useful sessions for me was the personal coaching I received from a church planter who took time to understand my story and our church plant in order to push me on to the next stage of development.
There were fifteen on the course hailing from Brazil, Dominican Republic, Rwanda, Congo, South Africa, Turkey, Australia, Finland, Portugal and Scotland! The diversity added to the richness of the interaction. We built deep friendships, prayed with and for one another and had great fun! I was encouraged and delighted to hear stories of how Jesus is building his church around the world.
[Tim Keller leads Jonathan's group in NYC]
After the course in NYC, I went to Spanish River Church in Florida for their church planters’ retreat. As a church, Spanish River has, for a number of decades, given 20% of their annual income towards church planting! I had been invited to attend as one of their funded church planters. I joined with around one hundred other church planters from all over the world for teaching (from Glynn Harrison), seminars and fellowship. It was a refreshing time and I felt the warmth of gospel partnership from our North American brothers and sisters who are burdened by the spiritual need in our nation.
This was a fantastic opportunity for me as we church plant in Glasgow. The experience made an impact on both head and heart. The benefit, though, was coming back not with more methods or strategies but a greater desire to follow Jesus and make him known in Glasgow.
- Rev. Jonathan de Groot leads a church plant called Christ Church Glasgow.