2010 National Gathering Focused Sessions

The following is the list of Focused Sessions that will take place during the 2010 Ecclesia Gathering.

Focused Session #1

(1) Practical Steps to Growth in the Spirit – Todd Hunter
Many realize that the Spirit is at work in new ways in today’s missional context. Many are also realizing that the church needs to move out in mission with the power of the Spirit, even if that looks different than the way the church has used the power of the Spirit in the immediate past. This session will explore some simple steps for missional leaders to begin growing in the power of the Spirit through the Golden Triangle of Presence.

(2) What Not To Do When Planting a Church – JR Briggs, Bruce Hopler, Panel Discussion
Regardless of where you’re at in the process of a church plant – thinking about planting, just beginning or you are a few years in – learning from the mistakes of others can be keep you from veering off the mission God’s given us. Learning from others on what not to do helps us to be aware of the warning signals before they arise. This session will be practical, honest, hopeful and full of stories. It will help equip you by learning some of the pitfalls church plants can easily fall into and show you that God’s grace stills prevail – even in the midst of mistakes – because its Jesus’ Church, not ours.

(3) Membership in Missional Congregations – Winn Collier
Church Membership. Most of our congregations have some form of it – and most of leaders of congregations are unsettled by the form they have. What might be some new ways of considering the committed community of the church? This session will be strongly discussion based with others trying to work out a new reality.

(4) Developing Reproducible Disciples – Bob Hyatt
This session will explore a foundational approach to raising and developing leaders that can be used in any church and in any discipleship relationship. We will walk through the various stages of discipleship and leadership development, discussing the needs of the disciple and the response of the discipler along the way.

(5) Developing a Contextual Church – Bob & Mary Hopkins
We need fresh expressions of church in order to reach the growing number of non-Christian people in today’s culture. Bob & Mary Hopkins have been working with a number of pioneering new expressions across the western world. In this session, they will guide missional leaders through a process of looking at the Gospel and context and then developing creative incarnational approaches to church expression. In addition, they will discuss the use of mid-sized missional communities as a means of establishing these kind of church expressions in various contexts.

Focused Session #2

(1) Evangelism Strategies I – Bob & Mary Hopkins
This double session is aimed at opening up the fact that no one approach to evangelism will do the job. Rather, each method fits into a different part of the process. The key to increased effectiveness is gaining a strategic understanding of the entire evangelism enterprise so that any and every evangelism method can be used appropriately to complement each other.
Part 1- unpacks an understanding of the journey and process of people coming to faith and Jesus’ biblical approach.

(2) Worship, Liturgy, Mission – Todd Hunter
Many churches in our contemporary context are recovering the use of liturgy and the Christian calendar. This session will explore the ways in which these historic Christian elements help form and equip a congregation for evangelism and discipleship.

(3) Missional Theology: Theology that Shapes a People for Mission – Dave Fitch
Political theology studies how what we believe about God shapes the way our way of life together in the world. It affirms that what we believe and how we practice that belief shapes us a people in the world. Missional theology in effect is political theology. Some try to suggest that what we believe about God requires us to take certain political positions about what is going on in the world (most typical of evangelical conservatives). Others suggest that what we believe about God enables us to see and join with God’s work of justice in the world (most typical of protestant progressives). In contrast to these two approaches, I suggest that what we believe joined with how we practice that belief shapes us as the embodiment of Christ in Mission in the world (we might call this the incarnational approach). This session is a brief overview how some of our ways of belief and practice (regarding Scripture, Salvation and Church) have malformed us as a people for mission and how we can lead our churches theologically so we become a hospitable, faithful and compassionate people for Mission.

(4) Christianity in a Pluralistic Age – Dallas Willard
There is no question that we are living in the midst of a pluralistic society. For much of the western world, this is new territory that is becoming increasingly complex to grabble with and help those in our congregations understand. Inadequately dealing with the issues that a pluralistic society creates also hampers the confidence of those in our congregations towards mission and evangelism. In this session, Willard will address the issue of how the Christian gospel interacts with the pluralism of western society and offer a reason approached to re-establish confidence in the uniqueness of the gospel of Jesus.

(5) What To Do When The Tank Is Empty? — Keith Matthews
All ministers go through seasons when their tank is empty. Sometimes this is because of trying congregational situations or because of intense ministry burdens. At other times it is because of a lack of vibrant connection to the life of God or a stressful family dynamic. In truth, we all know it could come from a variety of factors. However, during most of those times, we must keep engaging in the work of ministry and giving of ourselves from an empty tank. In this focused session, Keith will look at how we handle these difficult periods in our ministry vocation.

Focused Session #3

(1) Christianity in a Pluralistic Age – Dallas Willard
There is no question that we are living in the midst of a pluralistic society. For much of the western world, this is new territory that is becoming increasingly complex to grabble with and help those in our congregations understand. Inadequately dealing with the issues that a pluralistic society creates also hampers the confidence of those in our congregations towards mission and evangelism. In this session, Willard will address the issue of how the Christian gospel interacts with the pluralism of western society and offer a reason approached to re-establish confidence in the uniqueness of the gospel of Jesus.

(2) Evangelistic Strategies II – Bob & Mary Hopkins
This double session is aimed at opening up the fact that no one approach to evangelism will do the job. Rather, each method fits into a different part of the process. The key to increased effectiveness is gaining a strategic understanding of the entire evangelism enterprise so that any and every evangelism method can be used appropriately to complement each other.
Part 2 – builds the strategic framework to move to an integration of evangelism approaches and to a mobilization of the whole Body to be involved and fruitful in this aspect of mission.

(3) Worship, Liturgy, Mission – Todd Hunter
Many churches in our contemporary context are recovering the use of liturgy and the Christian calendar. This session will explore the ways in which these historic Christian elements help form and equip a congregation for evangelism and discipleship.

(4) Creative Missional Leadership Teams – Todd Hiestand
The church gets labeled for lacking creativity and imagination. This label is fairly accurate. Most churches are simply reflections of their core leadership teams being stuck in old habits of leadership for a time gone by. This session will take a look at some core commitments that can help foster creativity and imagination on leadership teams.

(5) Moving Towards Bi-Vocational Ministry – Dave Fitch & Geoff Holsclaw
For much of the recent past, bi-vocational ministry has been seen as a “least-preferred option” for those in vocational ministry. However, trends in missional congregations show that bi-vocational ministry is becoming more of a preferred as well as necessary alternative. This session will explore some of the reasons that bi-vocational ministry is promising for young congregations and leaders as well as some of the challenges present with it.

1.00-2.30: Focused Session #4

(1) Missional Communities Roundtable – Doug Paul
In this breakout we will be exploring the impact, viability and stories of Missional Communities (also referred to as Mid-Sized Groups, Mission Shaped Communities or Clusters) as a way of planting or transitioning churches to focus more on discipleship and mission. Not since “Small Groups” started popping up in every kind of church in the early 1990’s has one “vehicle” of the church provoked so much discussion, excitement and misunderstanding. Join several churches using this more de-centralized approach to learn and discuss what these groups of 10-50 people on mission together are all about.

(2) Practical Steps To Growth in the Spirit – Todd Hunter
Many realize that the Spirit is at work in new ways in today’s missional context. Many are also realizing that the church needs to move out in mission with the power of the Spirit, even if that looks different than the way the church has used the power of the Spirit in the immediate past. This session will explore some simple steps for missional leaders to begin growing in the power of the Spirit.

(3) Developing a Contextual Church – Bob & Mary Hopkins
We need fresh expressions of church in order to reach the growing number of non-Christian people in today’s culture. Bob & Mary Hopkins have been working with a number of pioneering new expressions across the western world. In this session, they will guide missional leaders through a process of looking at the Gospel and context and then developing creative incarnational approaches to church expression. In addition, they will discuss the use of mid-sized missional communities as a means of establishing these kind of church expressions in various contexts.

(4) Biblical Social Justice: Practical Steps for Congregations – Aaron Graham
This session will explore the biblical call to social justice with a look at the historical connection between spiritual renewal and social movements. We will explore difficult questions such as should Christians engage in politics and then learn practical ways you can reach your community and address not just the symptoms but root causes of injustice.

(5) Coaching in Missional Congregations – Brian Hopper
One key ingredient to fruitful church planting/pastoring is frequently underused, or completely missing from the process. That ingredient is the opportunity to work with an objective person who can journey with you and assist you in your church-planting endeavor. This breakout is an introductory session to the Coach; the role of a coach and the benefits of having a coach. Ecclesia envisions trained and equipped coaches being available to support, lead, and assist existing and future planters, pastors, and leaders. We believe in the value of having a good coach walk alongside of you in your endeavors. If you are interested in either being a coach or having a coach, this session (which will include an overview, stories from the field, and discussion ) is for you.