Jeff Pascoe of Peterborough and Pernell Goodyear of London each find a good new friend at the Momentum congress.
Momentum Church Planting Congress Inspires VMC Leaders & Friends
by Jay Gurnett
You couldn’t quite “get anything you want” at Alice’s Restaurant – but supper together at Alice Fazooli’s restaurant in Oakville, ON, on November 19, gave 50 Vision Ministries of Canada friends the right kind of kickoff to Church Planting Canada’s (CPC) semi-annual congress. We ate lots of good food, and talked and talked and talked.
This year’s CPC event, titled “Momentum,” was designed by a multi-denominational team that included Gord Martin. Altogether nearly 350 people from across the country gathered at The Meeting House, one of a very small number of very large Canadian churches (led by Bruxy Cavey and Tim Day). The CPC congress is the largest event of this sort that occurs in Canada regularly – biannually since 1997.
Gord wasn’t the only one directly involved. Pernell Goodyear, who coaches non-traditional churches for VMC (and is pastoral leader of Hillside Church in London, ON), led the whole conference in communion on the final morning. And good friends like Graham Singh (Lakeside Downtown in Guelph, ON), Dave Witt (TrueCity in Hamilton, ON), Shawn Cuthill (The Jesus Network, Toronto), Siamak Shafti-Keramat (Spirit of Truth Church, Toronto), and Nigel Paul of MoveIn also led some of the 36 workshop sessions. Jay Gurnett helped with another, and interviewed a variety of church planters at plenary sessions.
In addition to bringing together a number of first and second year planters from across the country, VMC used Momentum as an opportunity to gather leaders of churches, who are helping to “move the mission forward.” Each of these churches is committing funds to start new church plants/new congregations/etc. beyond the usual 4-6 that VMC comes alongside each year. They will also help a few churches with “road blocks” (saving VMC lots of time and effort it puts into consulting); and will commit to celebrate and pray with each other. Momentum was just the right atmosphere to consider what could be sponsored by these churches in the coming year.
And of course the Momentum event was impressive all on its own with keynote speakers like Bob Roberts Jr, Alan Hirsch, Ying Kai and Jon Tyson.
A couple of days after that first meal, when most VMCers got back together for a final lunch, we agreed that the time together had been more than worth it. Most were leaving with good ideas, or a personal challenge. So VMC expects to bring another group of friends together at the 2015 congress in Montreal. In the meantime, our own Thinking Shrewdly conference in Guelph, ON on May 1 and 2, 2014, will provide a rich two days, for leaders of as many churches as we can gather. Conferences aren’t what this organization or kingdom work is for, but they can provide needed inspiration.