Day 2 started in South Kensington with one-on-one coaching session / breakfast with Dave Stroud - worth leaving my house at 6:20am for!
The first ECPN session of the day looked at how each stream / network selected and trained church planters. Vineyard seem to be the most established, thought through and structured (Their church planting manual is excellent) and they are currently planting 10 a year in the UK.
The team from HTB talked about their new theological college which now allows their students to study for two days then work 3 days in a church plant situation. Their guiding principle seems to be to ensure that theology is done in the context of a local church otherwise, as their Dean said "strange things can happen when you take theology out of a church context". I agree!
Newfrontiers in the UK plants approx 15 a year and relies on an organic, relational, almost haphazard approach. What was exciting was considering the possibility of how many more churches could be planted if we were more intentional in the selection, training and coaching of future planters. But I suspect the biggest challenge will not be these systems but the tension of 'relationship v mission'.
Many newfrontiers churches have highly relational leadership teams and the thought of actively sending away close friends who hold key positions, is / should be very painful. This is a hurdle that must be overcome if we are to accelerate church planting.
I have really enjoyed spending extended time Tope, Pete and Dave. I have learnt so much from their insights and enjoyed the banter - I am even starting to take myself less seriously!