by Rev. Alex Shipman, Senior Pastor of Village Church
Lost!Confused! Frustrated! I was drowning in those emotions at the first and last church planting training I attended. Please, don’t get me wrong! The information was great but I didn’t see how it applied to my distinctive ministry context. For none of the speakers looked like me. For none of them spoke to the realities of church planting in my ministry context. For none of the speakers planted a church similar to the one I was planting. I left the training depressed with deep questions about my call. It took me a week to recover from that experience. I don’t believe for a chance I am alone in this experience. In fact, its more the norm for African American church planters who are the minority in their particular denomination.
The Need for “Contextualized” church planting
LifeWay Research recently conducted a study on African-American church plants. This study measured and identified characteristics of healthy church plants. It also measured characteristics distinctive to the African-American context. Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, said, “We have conducted large national studies on church planting in the past. But it would be wrong to assume that national factors are the same for every sub-population of church plants.” Stetzer is correct in his assessment. For national factors are not the same for everyone. These factors will vary from majority culture to minority culture. So, there is a real need for contextualized church planting training that deals specifically with the national factors of minority culture.
African American Church Planting Initiative
The African American Church Planting Initiative (AACPI) is here to address such factors. This is a cross-denominational initiative. Our vision is to provide contextualized direction that educates and equips church planters and denominations for the future. On August 7-8, AACPI will have its first event in Nashville, TN. This event will address two areas: cultural intelligence and contextualization in African American church planting.
So, who can attend this event? Anyone who is doing ministry among African Americans. Don’t be confused! Don’t lost! Don’t be frustrated! Instead register here for AACPI beginning April 14th. Hope to see you in Nashville this August.