This week is one of the largest annual gatherings of church planters in America. It’s the Exponential Conference in Florida. Men and women who have planted churches, who are thinking about planting churches, or who are simply curious — all will converge on Orlando.
I’ve been myself … and it was worth every dollar and every minute.
There is something contagious about being around a group of people who believe they serve a God who can change the world. You get to sit in sessions with other risk-takers and the risks you’re taking don’t seem so insurmountable. It’s a safe place to share stories — mostly war stories, failures, things you would do over. No one goes there to brag. You go to learn, be encouraged, and to encourage others.
As I sat in one of the main sessions back in 2005, I looked over the room and saw hundreds of churches, some already out of the gate, others still in incubation. These churches represent the best hope we have of reaching an unbelieving world.
I was reminded of a Robert Schuller quote (I don’t do this too often): “I would rather try something great and fail than try nothing at all and succeed.”
I’ve been around pastors who seemed to find pleasure in a church plant going up in flames. There is no pleasure in the kingdom losing a point of light in a world of darkness. Truth be told, that feeling says more about the insecurity of the pastor than it does about the effectiveness of church planting.
I hope you will join me in praying for those in Orlando this week.
- Pray for the churches they have started — that they will prosper and reach more people.
- Pray for the churches that are being considered — that those would-be entrepreneurs will take the risk.
- Pray for those who support new churches — that more time, talents, and treasures will be dedicated to the birthing of new mission outposts.
If you would like to watch a live simulcast, you can do so for a reasonable fee ($29-49) for the whole week. Go to exponentialconference.org and you will see a simulcast link.