Commissioned Conference 2011

I just returned from Saddleback Church’s Commissioned Conference 2011, a conference intended to bolster church planters in their passions, strategies, and actions. Rick Warren spoke during the main sessions, and other church planters spoke in the breakout sessions. It was a deeply valuable experience and I had several takeaways.

For many years I have had a deep passion for what the Church could look like. Ten years ago, God began planting the seeds of a vision that has become clearer and more eminent in my own mind and heart. Attending the conference, it was clear that I was not alone. But the clarity that I hoped to leave with eluded me, as instead more questions were triggered that I have yet to find answers to. I took many notes, both from the wisdom of fellow attendees as well as the speakers themselves.

What was instantly obvious is that all the presenters, seasoned church planters, have a shared passion: Evangelism. While it may seem intuitive in hindsight, I was caught off-guard. I’m not sure why, but  I was expecting more variety in the types of passion and roles represented, but the Evangelist clearly is the heart of the church planting movement. This presents a conundrum for me, as my primary passion is for Discipleship. I was designed to be a Pastor, not an Evangelist. Now, of course, there is always overlap. But, the serious question emerged, “Do I have the right passion for church planting?”

We reviewed independent statistics about the church and we discussed all kinds of church planting strategies, but another concept began to take shape for me. The vision that I have believed in for so long, the picture of what the Church could truly be, was deeply reinforced over the course of the conference. The healthiest churches are churches that all share that common core belief system about the purpose of the Church, based in the five principles from Acts 2 and Ephesians 4:11.

I have much to process. Is this vision for a healthy church intended for me to initiate? Is a passion for a healthy Bride of Christ enough, or does a church planter really need a primary passion for the lost? All I know for certain is that I have been discipling within the Church for many years, and it isn’t enough anymore. It isn’t enough to only reach a few.

3 thoughts on “Commissioned Conference 2011

  1. Its been a few months. Do you feel the same way?
    That particular conference/setting brings a certain person – mainly evangelists according to you.
    Would love to hear your thoughts now.

    1. Hey Lem,
      Thanks for subscribing!

      After this conference, I had a great sit-down with a mentor of mine. He has been a megachurch pastor, an entrepreneur, and for the last 20 years, the leader of a parachurch ministry. I laid out my thoughts and questions, and he was able to bring some clarity. In a nutshell, both evangelists and pastors plant churches. But, the pastor tends to plant roots at the church he planted, whereas the evangelist tends to move on, as he and the fledgling church body he has founded sort of outgrow each other. The body’s need transitions to deeper teaching and spiritual growth, while the evangelist is focused outwardly, on reaching as many people outside the church as possible.

      All that to say, there is certainly a paradigm for a role other than the evangelist to plant a church.

      I still await word from the Lord as to whether or not He plans for me to plant a church. In the meantime, though, He has led us (under the guidance of Eric Wakeling) to launch a year-long series at Calvary Church next month. It is called Heroes & Heroines, and it is meant to help people discover the supernatural role they were created for, to stop living vicariously through the “heroes of the faith” that they read about, and instead, to become who God designed them to be.

      1. That’s pretty cool. I like what you said – there is certainly a paradigm for the role of an evangelist and one who disciples.

        That’s good that you’re waiting. It’s great that you are being guided by Eric Wakeling. He’s a great guy.

        It’ll be fun to see how God reveals Himself to you and see where you end up. That’s pretty awesome.

        Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to your posts.

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