“The Titus Institute for Church Planting and Multiplication” (ACNA), held a “Church Plant Boot Camp, in Fairfax, VA from 6/5/2017 through 6/8/2017. I was blessed to attend with Fr. Shawn Doubet.
I have read every possible “Church Planting” and “Church Growth” book out there and you can find a great deal of information published about the need for effective church planters and the assessments available to assure you “have what it takes” to plant a new work. But, this “Boot Camp” was different: Fr. Tom Herrick, Titus’ Executive Director, and Mrs. Jenny Bartling, Titus’ Managing Director, gave us tools and direction that so many church planting initiatives are lacking. In many ways, we learned the “how” of Church planting, rather than the “why.”
The Titus Institute was formed to provide a support and coaching network for church planters; to move from a calling to plant, into the phases of planning, gathering and growing a vital and self-sustaining congregation. We heard from many speakers, including current and former successful church planters and we learned about a number of outreach and ministry opportunities that the ACNA is undertaking across the province. This was all very exciting! Our speakers said that they had so much information for us, it would be “like drinking from a fire-hose.” And, in fact, it was a great deal of GREAT information. But, I came away with a renewed sense of purpose and a number of great tools that will help us, in St. Louis, in reaching our community more effectively for Christ; while working to grow a congregation that will be a holy and living example of excellence, in the Diocese of Quincy.
One of the most important disciplines that The Titus Institute models in their teaching is the need for effectual and constant prayer: Each day’s training began with prayer and worship, and our need to stay in close communion with God was a constant theme as we moved through the phases and processes of effective church planting. I especially enjoyed the planning and processing phases where the church plant (Mission) becomes known in the community, then begins to “gather in” those who God is calling to be a part of the church plant. This is the phase where St. Francis Mission stands, in our work in the St. Louis area & it was awesome to see who other planters who have been successful in seeing what often feels like “struggle and anxiety”, bloom into a beautiful work that is exactly what God wants to see in his called and assembled congregation.
Overall, I came away with a renewed focus and sense that, knowing we were called by God to do this work of planting St. Francis Mission, He (in His power, not mine!) will accomplish His desire and, when we follow Him and His will, the outcome will be a thousand times better than anything we could “plant” in our own power.
I am grateful for what I learned and thank Bishop Morales and Fr. Greg Lynn for making this training possible for me.