Pittsburgh, PA Fifty-four Anglican church planting enthusiasts attended a two-day Visioning Seminar in Southern California March 10-11 led by the Rev. Tom Herrick, National Director for Church Planting for the Anglican Communion Network (ACN). Church planting teams came from Arizona, Oregon, and California to experience a hands-on boot camp designed to move each team, no matter where they are in their development, closer to their dream of becoming a new congregation.
One seminary student decided to change her major from a masters in theology to an M.Div. degree so that she can become a church planter as a result of attending the conference, said the Rev. Kathleen Adams, Executive Assistant to ACN Western Convocation Dean Bill Thompson and organizer of the event. There is a ground-swell of interest in starting new Anglican churches and this type of training both equips and inspires.
The ACN Church Planting Task Force, which formed in 2004 to coordinate the Networks church planting initiative, plans to use this type of event as a regional training model to help launch teams define and develop their core values, vision, mission, ministry systems and strategic plan so that a firm foundation for the church plant can be established early on.
Another piece of the Task Forces plan for Anglican church planting in North America is to develop a network of coaches to assist church planters. A two-day event April 3-4 in Leesburg, Virginia has been designed and organized by the Rev. George Beaven, Task Force member and church planting coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Convocation. Twenty-seven potential church planting coaches will be trained, many of whom will be invited to make a commitment to coach one individual church planter for the coming year.
Jenni Bartling, Task Force member and Congregational Developer for New Churches in the Diocese of Pittsburgh since 2001, will be one of the principal speakers at the two-day event. Bartling worked on the staff of church planting and coaching expert Bob Logan for three years. We are planning to partner with Bobs CoachNet, Inc. to provide the best training, resources and certification possible, said Bartling. Other denominations that have incorporated coaching have seen their ministry leaders really accelerate their progress. Thanks to CoachNet, we do not have to re-invent the wheel.
The Task Force has been laying a deep foundation over the past two years to support its church planting efforts that includes more than the network of coaches to be birthed in April and the regular hosting of regional church planting boot camps. Herrick is especially excited about plans for the offering of an annual coaching certification, plans for the development of large churches into regional church planting hubs and the hosting of special training events. One such special event is being planned for October 13-14 called Avoiding Planting Pitfalls to be held at St. Stephens Church in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.
Featured speaker, Tom Nebel, Director of Church Planting for the Great Lakes Baptist Conference, has participated in the successful planting of hundreds of churches across America and written several church planting books including his latest Church Planting Landmines: Mistakes to Avoid in Years 2-10. To learn more about the fall seminar, email Jenni Bartling at bartling [at]pgh [dot] anglican [dot]org.
The core purpose of the Anglican Communion Network is to be a biblical, missionary, and united movement of Anglicans in fellowship with global Anglicanism, making disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ and planting churches that plant churches in North America and to the ends of the earth, said Herrick. If ACNs purpose is to be realized, weve got to partner with and learn from the best church planting organizations out there. We have worked hard to lay the ground work for effective growth for North American Anglicanism and I believe that with many of the pieces now in place, we will see explosive growth over the next few years.