Each year, LifeWay Research hosts the meeting of the Church Planting Leadership Fellowship (CPLF). It is a peer-learning network for national and district/state leaders in the church planting work for denominations and networks. To say the least, it is fascinating to see leaders from the Anglican Church of North America sit next to those from the Presbyterian Church of America and The Wesleyan Church – all learning about church planting in our culture.
The CPLF meets twice a year and last week was one of our two-day meetings. It has been great to have presenters in the past such as Jon Ferguson, Alan Hirsch, Bob Logan, Hugh Halter, Greg Surratt, and Rick Warren. Over the last few years, we’ve discussed a multitude of issues including urban church planting, coaching systems, the assessment process, missional communities, and multi-site planting.
Last week, we focused on two subjects. The first was “Leading Up and Out: Influence without Authority” with Dr. George Wood and Steve Pike. Dr. Wood is the general superintendent for the Assemblies of God and spoke about what the person at the top of the organization needs from the church planting leader to help the ministry. Steve Pike leads the Church Multiplication Network for the AG and followed up with how we can best relate to those in our denominations to help them be advocates for church planting.
On the second day, we heard from Ron Sylvia and Tom Wood on the subject of “Coaching Planters through Years 2-5.” Each of these guys is an expert in the field of coaching having done it, written on it, and continue to innovate their own processes. Ron is the pastor of Church at The Springs in Ocala, Florida. Tom is the president of Church Multiplication Ministries. It was very helpful to hear them present about moving planters through the second to fifth year when so much of the time we just focus on the launch and surviving the first year.
Though I can’t give you every point that was made, I thought that the following list of quotes would give everyone a feel for the meeting.
“Don’t ever let your vision become larger than your love for people.” George Wood
“We don’t put up roadblocks to church planting; we create an atmosphere of release. That invites chaos.” George Wood
“Be vision-driven, not provision-driven.” Steve Pike
“If you can control it, it’s probably not God-sized.” Steve Pike
“A growing church is led by a growing leader.” Ron Sylvia
“Find the truth before the truth finds you.” Ron Sylvia
“The fringe is where life happens. Pastors must always be fighting to the fringe!” Ron Sylvia
“God will not bless the idolatrous pursuit of a church planter no matter how big the vision might be.” Tom Wood
“Skill efficiencies can never make up for character deficiencies. “Tom Wood
“The things that drive you often become the demons that drag you down.” Ed Stetzer
And my favorite…
“Build a culture of feedback in your church. Feedback is a ladder, not a hammer.” Ron Sylvia