Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fun, Sun, & Run

As most of you know, I was in Florida last week. Many of you have asked me how my vacation and conference were. So I wanted to share some of the highlights. I had vacation Thursday through Sunday, and in that time, I got to:

It was a pretty full four days! My dad, who lives in Lynden, WA, had to be in North Carolina around the time of my conference, so he arranged to take some extra days so that the three of us could be together. It was a great time.

On Monday morning, my dad drove me to my conference in Orlando. I was there Monday through Thursday afternoon, and flew back to Michigan Thursday evening. While at the conference, I got to spend a lot of time with other UB pastors in Michigan who are involved in church planting. It was great to get to know all of these guys a little bit better:

  • Tom Blaylock, the UB Director of Church Multiplication
  • Gordon Kettel, the planting pastor of Imagine This, LLC, in Grand Ledge
  • Howard Matthews, the planting pastor of Homefront Church in Grandville
  • Mark Ralph, pastor at Sunfield UB Church, one of the mother churches for a recent Wesleyan church plant in Portland. Mark has also planted churches in Alabama and Florida.

At the conference, I got to hear from some of the leading voices for church planting in our country--Ed Stetzer, Andy Stanley, Rick Warren, and many others. In addition, I got the opportunity to network and meet some of the denominational and Michigan District leaders in the Missionary Church. My hope is that establishing contact with them personally will make it easier to bring in Missionary churches to our inter-denominational church-planting network for Jackson County.

To sum up the conference in the space of this blog is simply impossible. I have so much information I can't even begin to distill it down into a paragraph or two, so I'm not going to try. What I can tell you is that I found my time there to be immensely beneficial, and I'm extremely grateful to the denomination for sending me--it's an incredible honor.

On a final note, it's been exciting to come back and see what's been going on in our church in my absence. There are all kinds of ideas flying around about how to get out into our community. Small groups, minsitry teams, and individuals have been taking initiative to make things happen, and I couldn't be more pleased! Soon, there will be a lot to talk about as plans come together. I hope you're ready to be a part of impacting our community, serving them and their needs in the name of Christ. This is the business he's called his church to be about.

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