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Acts 29 Houston Boot Camp Recap

September 18, 2009

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This past week was the Acts 29 Network Houston Boot Camp excellently hosted by Clear Creek Community Church, a new addition to the Acts 29 Network.  I have been to at least six boot camps in the past, but this was my first 1) as a full member of Acts 29, 2) as a breakout session speaker and 3) as an assessor of potential church planters.

The Boot Camp Overall

Overall the boot camp was one of the best for me.  It didn’t have a few of the networks big names of the past, but what was beautiful was the showcase of new influences in the network at this level, especially great was the Texas presence.  Highlights for me were:

  • Matt Chandler (The Village Church) reminding us that we are a blip in history and not as big as we think we are.  The quote of the session was, if you mess this up ‘some other guy is gonna be raising your children’.  Know who you are men.
  • Matt Carter (Austin Stone) sharing some history on John Wesley, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards, specifically concerning their reputation as husbands and fathers.
    • John Wesley was not a ‘one woman man’ and had a sad marraige.
    • George Whitefield was a man of great stature but who married to advance his goals, using his wife to raise the children and run his orphanage.
    • Jonathan Edwards had his wife and daughter write of God’s mercy and grace to give them such a wonderful husband and father.
  • Bruce Wesley (Pastor of Clear Creek Community Church) did a wonderful job sharing how we might endure as pastors and how our work might endure.
  • Barry Keldie (Pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, TX) is the guy whose message I most missed hearing.  I caught the last 10 minutes and it was great Barry Keldie as usual.  Barry grabs my attention every time I hear him preach.  I look forward to when they post the audio from this message.

Acts 29 Full Membership

This was my first boot camp as a full member of A29.  What was sweet was the camaraderie with other A29 brothers.  Such great conversations and wisdom was shared freely by so many.  I look forward to many more years of fellowship and brotherhood in this crew.

Breakout Session

I was honored to be asked to lead a session titled “Things I Wish I Knew Before I Planted a Church”.  When this was first assigned I racked my brain for some things, by the time I finished I had 3.5 pages of bullet point items.  The session actually went really well overall.  I was pleased with my preparation, content and delivery.  And I ended up talking with some of the breakout attendees for an hour about church planting and it’s challenges and rewards.  Unfortunately there were some audio recording difficulties and the audio was lost.  I am writing my notes into a manuscript and will post it here after I get it together.   This was a humbling experience.  I am pleased to know that the blood, sweat and tears shed in our church planting experience can be used to help others bleed less.

Assessments

Over 3 years ago I was assessed by Acts 29 in Vancouver, Canada as a potential church planter.  It was a humbling experience.  This time I was joining other church planters in assessing potential church planters.  It was an even more humbling experience.  It was actually the most emotionally, spiritually impactful thing for me at the Boot Camp.  The weight of researching a potential planters life, interviewing them regarding their theology, spiritual vitality, family and marriage, etc and then discerning how they might spend the next 20 years of their lives is a weighty responsibility that needs to be taken with great care and intentionality.  While preparing and conducting the assessment, I couldn’t help but ask myself the same series of questions and feel the weight of conviction where I still need growth myself.  I have not arrived, none of us have arrived.  I pray we know that we have much room for growth ourselves.

Conclusion

This really was a great conference, possibly the best I have attended.  Here in the Texas Region we plan on upping the training, regionals and boot camps.  I anticipate them only getting better, more frequent, more participatory, in more cities in Texas and hopefully more churches planted that reach Texans with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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