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austin city-wide church planter assessment

Wednesday I had the privilege of being a part of a meeting to discuss the idea of doing a city-wide church planters assessment for Austin. It was hosted by Tim Hawks and John Herrington of Hill Country Bible Church, Glenn Smith of New Church Initiatives and David Smith of the Austin Baptist Association. Also participating were Jonathan Dodson representing Austin City Life and the Austin Area Church Planters Network, several baptist pastors, and myself and Joey Shaw representing Austin Stone Community Church.

Tim is the Senior Pastor at HCBC and it is obvious that he bleeds for the expansion of the Kingdom. You can tell what keeps him up at night - expanding the reign of Jesus through church planting. John is the Church Planting Director at HCBC, is sharp as a tack, extremely wise, and has a passion for seeing the city of Austin saturated with churches. Glenn is the guru of assessing and training church planters. David is one of the most kingdom-minded people you'll meet, who is able to effectively utilize his platform within the ABA to extend the influence of new and existing baptist churches. Don't let the title fool you - he's more Kingdom-focused than anyone you'll meet. Jonathan is one of the smartest and theologcially astute church planters you'll ever meet, but also has a huge heart to shepherd other church planters. And Joey, besides being fluent in Arabic, is an incredible catalyst, church planter, mobilizer and would-be statesman in his own right - not bad for a 24-year-old.

There are several reasons why stuff like this is cool:
  1. It smells like the Kingdom: anytime gospel-centered churches pursue a vision to work together to plant churches Jesus seems to show up.
  2. It's a good start: many of the folks at that table are very experienced in successful church planting. This isn't their first rodeo, so they know what works and what doesn't
  3. It's raises the right kinds of questions: soon after the meeting began it became evident that assessment was only going to be one slice of the church planting pie, although that is what brought us together - the opportunity for a city-wide church planter assessment. It became clear that there would need to be other "engines" and facets of church planting we would need to work together on, including coaching, supervision, funding, research, and training.
As we pilot this city-wide church planter assessment (probably August 25-27) we'll no doubt have to tweak and change things. We'll need to bring more than just white guys to the table for this to truly be a "city-wide" endeavor. We'll need to bring house churches and house church networks to the table for this to truly be a "city-wide" endeavor. And we'll need to give different folks from different backgrounds the same voice in the process.

Hooray for good starts.

image: Austin, Texas-no place like it! by: texas to mexico

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  • Blogger shaw says so:
    12:30 PM, June 01, 2008  

    hooray for this initiative indeed!

    thanks for the positive words brother. a couple corrections:

    -I'm not "fluent" in Arabic. "Fluency" is difficult to reach in Arabic. "Functional" is a better way to put it.

    -I'm 26, often going on 13. :) top

  • Blogger stew says so:
    1:44 PM, June 02, 2008  

    awww, Joey... details, details... I'll try to get it right next time. Maybe next time I'll tell people that you're fluent in Mandarin and 46 years old. How's that? top

  • Blogger Jacob Vanhorn says so:
    7:33 PM, June 05, 2008  

    Very cool to see you guys sitting at the table together. And just to dispel any confusing, I also am not fluent in Arabic. top