Report of Counties Planting Network M4 training weekend – September 2019

Six months of preparation and planning combined to bring together the first planting teams that are being prepared to plant or replant new churches in England and Wales through the Counties Planting Network. This is a very exciting development for which we praise God and give him all the credit.

The sense of anticipation, level of engagement and buzz around the room throughout the 2 days was testament to the significance of what was taking place and fulfilled our highest expectations. Hosted by the Forest Community Church, Cinderford the feedback was a wonderful encouragement to us all.

Comments like;

“I just wanted to say the biggest THANK YOU possible for what has been, for me, the most practical, timely and helpful Counties event I have ever attended. I wish I had had this 30 years ago, because it would have saved me a bucketload of grief! Please would you pass on my heartfelt thanks to all the M4 team. I really appreciate them coming such a long way to share their wisdom and experience.” Somerset

“M4 training was superb!” Cumbria

Over two days we focused on Jesus’ statement “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. He is the ‘Master’. He is the one who calls the church planter and the team members. He gives vision, direction and unity.

Therefore, the goal of M1 was to help their teams further clarify the vision God has given to them and also grow their commitment to each other. The teaching topic was: How to build a healthy team with a clear vision and defined model.

We asked each team:

  • Are all team members clear on the required commitment level?
  • What are your values, vision (and church model), and do you agree as a team on these?
  • Where do you see yourself in 2-3 years from now? What’s the picture you envision?

Each of these questions was addressed in our three keynote addresses by our speakers: Martin Erwin, Tim Cracknell, and Kenno Leier, an M4 Europe leader who is a pastor in Finland and Chairman for Alpha Finland.  M4 Europe’s goal is to support each nation to set up and run the process in the UK, but it is Counties statement of faith and values that underpin the delivery of M4 in the UK.  M4 is not a programme that teaches theological or ecclesiological convictions in regard to the style or type of church that is being planted. M4 is a process that Counties provides content for assessment, training and coaching that is solidly biblical and focussed around the unpacking of the Great commission in Matthew 28.

M1 was attended by six teams (five confirmed planting) 1. Gateway Church – Kendal 2. Wye Community Church – Ross 3. The Message of the Cross Evangelical Church – Kennington, London 4. Meare Community Church – Somerset – 5. Martock Christian Fellowship and 6. Ebenezer, Cardiff. Two further teams from Manchester will receive the M1 training later this year with other teams from Cornwall and Dorset expressing interest in participating too. Each team member is enrolled on our online learning platform by James Hyde, course facilitator, who provides encouragement and tech support.

Therefore, I’m delighted to report at least SEVEN church planting teams are registered on this first cycle with many others expressing interest in joining for the 2020 cycle which will start in September 2020. M2 will take place on 27-28 March 2020. If you are interested in knowing more contact Tim Cracknell on 07975 994224. Also, we will be holding a conference on 21-23 Feb 2020 which will be aimed at helping churches “Reach out to their communities and grow churches”. The guest speaker will be Dietrich Schindler from Germany who is one of Europe’s leading evangelist church planters. If you are interested go to the booking website www.connect-conference.org for more information.

Tim Cracknell – Pastor at Forest Community Church, Church Planting Officer with Counties and Trustee of Partnership UK

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