Saturday, January 10, 2009

NewThing field trip January 8-10-09

Thursday night around 8:30pm Kyle Mielke, Dalan Zartman and my sweetheart Melissa and I piled into the Mielke van and headed for Chicago. Arriving at 2:30am our time at Kyle's sister and brother-in-laws, it was nice to set the clock back an hour to get a little more sleep:-)
Why make a through the night trip like this? Well, way back in April 2008 Melissa & I went to Exponential '08, the largest church planting conference in the country. There we met and sat under the teaching of these crazy guys from the NewThing Network. They're ravinous about planting churches in all sorts of creative ways. What can I say, we were inspired and excited about what we heard. Then we traded a few e-mails back and forth and set up a meeting in August '08 where Chuck Taylor and I visited Chicago to ask some questions and see the "Big Yellow Box" and those who worked there. That was informative as well. Next we had a conference call with NewThing guys Jon Ferguson and Brian Zehr, in November '08 where Kyle, Dalan and I asked, and were asked, more questions to see if our ministry passions aligned closely enough to consider partnering together. During that call they suggested that we all come to Chicago in January '09 for their Leadership Community. That's their once a month combined coach, leader and apprentice leader meeting.
This morning we attended it and were impressed. Imagine approx. 500 leaders excited about the same vision, worshipping Christ, cheering for each others successes, and laughing together. These leaders came from the nine satellite churches tied to Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill. in the West Chicagoland area. Even though it had snowed 4-5 inches the night before, these people made it a priority to be there.
Dave Ferguson, the lead pastor for this movement of churches, cast vision into the lives of the leaders this morning calling them to the next level of their walk with Christ. Inspiring stuff.
ENCOUNTER CHURCH looks forward to partnering with the NewThing Network as we Seek HIS Kingdom First.
Here's a few pics of our time there. The guy with the beard is Brian Zehr, one of the campus pastors who gifted us his entire Friday so we could bombard him with lots of Q's. Thanks Brian:-)

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