A talk by Bob and Mary Hopkins at our 2010 Annual Gathering.
In a recent blog post called “The Pleasure of an Imperfect Community” Bob Hyatt hit on something very simple, yet something very important about this thing we call “church.” He writes,
“Yeah- we’re going to annoy the crap out of each other. You are going to hear some bad sermons. Someone will say something stupid on the City or even to your face. People will forget your birthday and occasionally not show up when you need them. It’s how community works because it’s how life works. But what’s present in community that is so often missing from life is… Grace. The very thing that seems to flower and bloom not in our successes but in our failures.”
A number of those who participated in the Ecclesia National Gathering have blogged about the event since it ended:
- Reflections on the Ecclesia National Gathering — Ben Sternke
- Ecclesia Network National Gathering — Bob Hyatt
- Dallas Willard on Missional Evangelism – Willard at Ecclesia Network National Gathering — David Fitch
- Preaching for the Missional Church: One More Tidbit from Dallas Willard at the Ecclesia Network National Gathering — David Fitch
- Ecclesia National Gathering, Part 1 — Doug Paul
- Ecclesia National Gathering, Part 2 — Doug Paul
- Ecclesia National Gathering 2010: Missional & White — Drew Hart
- The Non-Cynical Conference — Geoff Holsclaw
- Impressions of Ecclesia — Jason Salamun (just added!)
- reflections from the 2010 ecclesia national gathering — John Chandler
- Ecclesia National Gathering Thoughts — JR Briggs
- Affirmed in My Craziness — JR Briggs
- 2010 Ecclesia National Gatherings — JR Rozko
- Knowing Christ Today: Notes from Talk by Dallas Willard, Part 1 — JR Woodward
- Ecclesia National Gathering & Diversity & Dallas Willard — Todd Hiestand
(Clearly, many of us aren’t very creative in the Blog Titling department…) If you are aware of others that we have missed, please leave a comment on this post and we’ll add them to the list.
This is a question you may be asking yourself. This may be a question your congregation is asking you. This also maybe a question you are asking to all the churches that are in the network.
This was the second time I’ve participated in a Church Planters Boot Camp and the first time I got to present at one.
And in comparing my two experiences, I think I can say, like all things Ecclesia-related, this one was just “better.”
Part of the value of Ecclesia is that when they say “relational network”, they actually mean it. Those involved in the network agree to be in relationship with each other, not just in some vague metaphorical sense, but with actual phone calls, conversations, and time spent with each other.
This seems to all begin at the boot camp, with meals together, late night talks, long walks on the beach (ok… I made that last one up, but still.)
From the moment I arrived, I began to realize – this is a room of like-minded individuals intent on seeing the Gospel spread and healthy, missionally-minded communities planted. And in the lonely world of church planting, I can think of few things more valuable than having a handful of friends like that.
The boot camp itself was a great mix of the theoretical and the practical, the motivational and the devotional. Times of prayer, times of discussion, lots of learning and lots of dreaming. Plenty of room for divergent models- no, not everyone here is going to plant the same kind of church- but a common heart because of a common focus on the person of Jesus.
If you ever take part in one of these bootcamps, and you should, just don’t expect to be wowed by experts who started their church and a year later had 1,000 people showing up. This wasn’t like that… and since your church planting experience probably won’t be either, that’s a good thing.
This was a really healthy mix of seasoned practitioners and newer church planters all sharing what they’ve learned along the way. And everyone was invited and even expected to do the same. This boot camp quickly became a community of learners and teachers as everyone contributed.
The setting of the Richmond Hill community was wonderful with its rhythms of daily prayer and contemplative atmosphere. Hard to imagine a better setting for listening to God and seeing what it is He might be birthing in you as regards church planting.
This boot camp is an annual event so there will be another one in 2010. If you are interested in learning more about Ecclesia and the boot camp, you are invited to e-mail Christ Backert by using our the contact form on our website.
You can listen to the audio from the 2009 boot camp here