Developers and Planters Together in Dallas in April 2022
By Matt Temple, Associate Director for Center for Church Development, North Texas Conference
In the corner of my dining room, right behind my COVID-19 workstation, we have a beautiful Madagascar Dragon Tree. We call it our Dr. Seuss tree because it looks like something that came out of The Lorax. This past spring, the tree really started growing, so we had to prune it back some, and we discovered that we could repot the trimmed parts and start new trees using the established tree. As I was repotting the old limbs in a new pot to make the start of a new tree, I couldn't help but think about the season we are living in right now as pastors and leaders in the church. No matter what your leadership style is and no matter how old or established your congregation is, the pandemic has made church planters out of us all. Every one of us has had to trim back during this past season and replant in a new pot as we sought to adapt to the challenges of a world in the throes of social distancing.
The world in which we are now living is not the same as the world we left behind at the beginning of the pandemic. To be sure, some things will return to the way they were, and our nostalgia will infuse those things with fresh meaning and significance. Other things, however, will not return. I don't think we know yet the full ramifications of this or what the “new normal” will look like. This means, in our return, we must be prepared to innovate and adapt to meet our new reality in a meaningful way. Courage, adaptation, innovation—these are all staples of successful startups. So, as I said before, we are all church planters now!
We are social by nature, but now more than ever, we need to develop community and collaboration with fellow leaders who are, like us, learning to navigate this new terrain we have been thrust into. For innovation to lead to lasting change, it must be done in community. The creative process itself requires time for reflection with fellow practitioners where we can learn from one another and work together on how to adapt and pivot as we seek to imagine what a good-news community can look like. The past sixteen months or so have prohibited us from getting together; as a result, we have been relegated to trying Zoom rooms, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, and so many other virtual meet-ups as we have sought to avoid isolation and collaborate on what it means to be the church in a world that has been forever impacted by a pandemic. While I appreciate the technology that made virtual meetings possible, I find myself craving some genuine, in-person, face-to-face interaction. If you find yourself feeling the same way, then we want to formally invite you to join us in April for “The Planters’ Gathering.”
The Planters Gathering will take place in Dallas, Texas in April 2022. It will be two events in one. The first event will be exclusively for congregational developers. This gathering will serve as the annual congregational developers’ meeting that has typically occurred in the fall. The developers’ gathering will begin the morning of April 25 and will conclude at noon on April 26. Following the developers’ meeting will be The Planters’ Gathering. We will begin The Planters’ Gathering at 1:00 p.m. on April 26 and will finish in the afternoon on April 27. Both gatherings will provide opportunities for connection, conversation, and learning from practitioners throughout the connection. We are also excited to welcome guest speaker Mark DeYmaz to The Planters’ Gathering to share with us how to shift our understanding of funding and sustainability in the local church.
Super Early Bird Registration is open now. Take a couple of minutes to register so we can dream together about what the church can be in this new world.