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August 2, 2016

Justice and Church Planting: August CPLF Gathering

By Ed Stetzer

For the past few years we have hosted a gathering of denomination and network church planting leaders from across North America to consider process’ and practices of church planting. We call this group the Church Planting Leadership Fellowship. This is a peer group, specifically focused on those who are leading church planting efforts in their denomination and/or network. This group is unique, in fact I’m pretty confident that it’s the only one of its kind. It regularly features leaders who represent around 75% of all North American Evangelical church planting in a given year.

In the past we have featured speakers like Tim Keller, Rick Warren, Linda Stanley, Neil Cole, Dhati Lewis, Leonce Crump, Derwin Gray, and many, many others. What makes this gathering so special, though, is not just the learning we get (though it’s pretty spectacular), but the opportunity for peers to sit down and learn from each other.

This August, we will host our next gathering focusing on Justice and Church Planting. Not only will this event be particularly relevant, due to recent current events, but it will also be the first time that the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism (BGCE) will be involved in this gathering! As the Executive Director of BGCE at Wheaton College, I will be convening this group in partnership with Daniel Im of NewChurches.com and Scott McConnell of LifeWay Research.

On August 3-4, 2016 in Nashville, TN, we will be exploring the best practices of mercy ministry, justice, and servant evangelism in church planting. This year, we will have the following speakers joining us:

  • D.A. Horton (Urban Church Planter)
  • Gary Rohrmayer (President of Converge MidAmerica)
  • JR Woodward (National Director of the V3 Church Planting Movement)
  • Efrem Smith (President and CEO of World Impact)
  • Ryan West (Team Leader of Mercy Ministry, Community Development, and Justice at NAMB)
  • Christy Lipscomb (Co-Church Planter)
  • Ed Stetzer (Executive Director of BGCE)
  • Daniel Im (Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com and LifeWay)

If you can’t join us for this one, then consider joining us for our gathering in November where we’ll be focusing on Rural Church Planting. If you help lead church planting at a denomination, network, judicatory, state convention or other level, this is a gathering for you.

I believe so strongly in what we are doing through CPLF that I am convinced that this is the foremost gathering of church planting leaders in the country—it’s not for planters and it’s not about how to plant a church. It’s about leading church planting.

If you are involved in church planting, on the level of leading a denomination or network’s church planting emphasis, we would love for you to consider becoming a part of the CPLF. Our team will gladly get an application to you so that you can become part of our learning community. If you are interested in joining, email Shirley Cross at shirley.cross@lifeway.com.


Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer), is a professor and dean at Wheaton College who also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. Stetzer has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is regional director for Lausanne North America and publishes research through Mission Group. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the founding editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible study. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays across the country. He serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Chicago and has been the interim teaching pastor at Moody Church in downtown Chicago.


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