/Tuesday, March 10, 2020
A ‘First-Time’ Collaborative Summit Of 5 Church Planting Networks Globally
Have you been encouraged in an on-going task by a new approach or fresh injection of energy?
I have a recent story of OC’s involvement in a “new beginning” which is so encouraging!
The Global Church Planting Network (GCPN)
Background to this story is the on-going task of the Great Commission. Christ calls us as his followers to bring the good news of God’s passion to restore his estranged family to loving community with him and each other.
In this labour of love, the Global Church Planting Network (GCPN Website) links those who share God’s passion for the lost around the world. We’ve worked hard, prayed, sought to build and support teams, faced challenges including persecution, and much more.
We’ve held five global gatherings in ten years, seeking to increase our effectiveness through training and collaboration.
Then a new beginning! Rather than hold another global gathering, GCPN decided to invite networks with similar goals. Last month 150 leaders from GCPN and four other networks met in an Asian country amid swirling rumours of coronavirus. The five networks were:
- GCPN which helps resource indigenous teams for church planting in 15 key regions globally.
- GACX which brings together western agencies for international cooperation.
- Vision 5:9 which focuses on the unreached Muslim World
- 24:14 which has an unrelenting focus on empowering “disciple-making movements” particularly among unengaged unreached people groups
- Ethne which aims primarily to see churches planted in unreached people groups.
All the networks share a common goal while engaging unique tools and strengths.
Then the fun began!
The 150 leaders committed four days to get acquainted, pray together, and in twelve regional groups (such as North Africa, South Asia, Latin America) share strategies being used by their network in the region, identify key gaps remaining and how best to address them. There was even time for a little fun!
We will, I will
As we wrapped up, we made two kinds of commitments.
- Each regional group, made up of members of 3 to 5 networks, agreed on “we will” action statements reflecting a new collaborative beginning in the region. The collaboration would be a shared project with identified steps to be completed in 30 days, 90 days and one year.
- In addition, members of each group made “I will” statements reflecting personal action steps to be taken towards the goal in 30 days, 90 days and one year. The potential impact of these new commitments was inspiring!
Core leadership of each network also met to identify ways to relate to one another more purposefully in days ahead.
The focus throughout our time was “movements.” Movements have emerged in recent years as the best way to move from addition to multiplication.
Addition is when one disciple or disciple-making community shares the Good News, making another disciple or disciple-making community.
Movements take place when the process produces four spiritual generations “deep” while continuing to grow “wider”. The image of a game with dominos comes to mind.
When 1000 people have responded positively to the Gospel, becoming disciples who are making disciples, we can speak of a “movement” to Christ. Movements remain the goal of the collaborative gathering of these five networks and the focus of each of the 12 regional groups.
More Good News!
Then another “new beginning.”
Two weeks after the meetings came an offer to extend the life of this global collaboration for ten years! Resources have been committed to bring together movement leaders from around the globe annually to share progress reports, best practices, collaborate and commit to new action steps to identify and re-focus on the remaining least reached people groups of the world.
What a great “new beginning!”
The God who gave Himself for us on the cross and rose again to seal eternal life for all who welcome him is on the move. During this season of Lent you may want to bring a place in your life where you are weary or struggling to Jesus Christ for a “new beginning” (see more about this in the Bible, the Gospel of John 3:1-21) – a new beginning which will never end!
Join the Story
Want to see an example of a “movement” showing people Jesus? Enjoy watching this brief You Tube story: Pedro & Angela - Making Disciples in San Francisco and Central America
Want to be involved yourself? A great place to start is Watson, David and Paul D. Watson. Contagious Disciple Making: Leading Others on a Journey of Discovery. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2014). Or visit my website, starting with this page.
Murray Moerman began his work with OC as the Director of Church Planting Canada. From there he moved to the UK where he served for 7 years as OC Europe Area Director and helped found the Global Church Planting Network (GCPN) which he led from 2009 to 2016. Murray now serves within GCPN, leading the Saturation Church Planting Taskforce partnership and other national church planting process initiatives. You can read his story here: My Story of Christ's Power & Grace