For the last few years Dan White Jr, others and I have been part of a national initiative concerned with one goal: helping church planters recover the essentials for cultivating communities of disciples who are sent deep into their cities to embody the Gospel of the Kingdom.
It seems fairly simple, but it is not.
Culturally, we are swimming in a sea of church resources that have conditioned us that we need extra luxuries to be a successful church. Our images of church have picked up so much collateral that our sensibilities for being a nimble church on mission have experienced atrophy. We need new exercises to wake up our muscles for being the People of God in the world.
Part of a Missio Dei Movement
The V3 Movement has been seeking to contribute to this awakening. Out of love for the church, we have been pouring ourselves into coaching church planters through an 18 month training system that awakens them, equips them and sends them into their contexts with the message of Jesus.
These are encouraging times. We’ve been gathering a diverse tribe of planters who are seeking to build missional-incarnational churches; churches that recognize that at the center of the universe is a Triune missionary God. It’s the concept of Missio Dei, where the Father sends the Son into the world, the Father and Son send the Spirit, and the triune God sends us.
God is missionary in his very essence.
The missionary nature of God shapes our approach to everything, for as Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
We know we are not alone in this small groundswell of associations around the country that are seeking to develop leaders for vital missional work. We claim no hero status in our effort. We see ourselves as friends and co-laborers in helping recover the impulse that first propelled the church into the ancient world 2000 years ago. We are thankful for conferences and organizations that have risen to help meet the needs of thousands of leaders around the country. However, we still have a ways to go together.
An Incarnation Laboratory
Our team at V3 has been working with on the ground church planters scattered throughout the country. From the fall of 2013 through the end of 2015 almost 100 church planters will have journeyed through our training, tools and tactics for being an incarnational presence in the places God has called them.
Incarnation is central to Jesus’ approach to ministry. I love the way that Eugene Peterson paraphrases John 1:14 in the Message: “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” It’s not enough to be “for” a city, but we need to learn how to be “with” our city.
Our team has been dreaming about a way to pull authentic practitioners together for a weekend of learning, of reflection and community building. We’ve been stirring on how to create a large laboratory for hundreds of church planters to collide around fresh questions, rich theology and careful answers. We know this type of church planting is unusual to some, so we wanted to create an immersive experience alongside others struggling forward to plant missional communities.
Time to Gather
Birthing from our last couple years of training cohorts and the expressed need we’ve heard along the way; we are excited to announce The Praxis Gathering, which is taking place in Washington DC, September 10th-12th.
Praxis is a process by which a theory is enacted or applied. What makes the Praxis Gathering a unique church planting conference is our passion for creating the space for real-time practice to collide with rich theology and then be followed by deep reflection. During our time together, we will plummet deep into the hands-on-work of disciple-making, community formation and incarnational mission for the sake of God’s in-breaking Kingdom.
This event is open to all and we expect a robust environment of discovery and conversation around mission in the 21st Century. Rather than parceling us out into different hotels only to converge at the Gathering, we’ve booked a retreat center that will pull us together in the heart of Washington D.C. We will eat together in our community dining hall, we’ll room together in comfortable accommodations, and we’ll converse together in shared lounges spaces. Rather than paying for a separate hotel, a rental car, meals and the price of the conference ticket, this is an all-inclusive gathering. All meals, lodging, and the price of the gathering are all bundled together making it much cheaper for you. More importantly, we’re hoping to create community, connection and collaboration.
Because this gathering focuses on grounded missional practice, we are bringing together thoughtful practitioners to lead us. The prerequisite for every communicator guiding us into church planting essentials is that they must live the material they share with us. Great communicators are in abundance, but best practices and tools come from the bumps and bruises of working them out in a street level context. You can find a full list of the speakers at the Praxis Gathering website.
We hope you can join us. Check out thepraxisgathering.com and get early bird registration now. Gather with us and 300 + other practitioners to be equipped, nourished and sent back into the world.
Peace to you,
Dan White Jr.
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