Discussing Issues and Exchanging Ideas

 The Church Planting Forum was held on February 10th at the Hollymoor Centre, in Birmingham with over 80 participants from across the UK, gathering to share stories, discuss issues, and exchange ideas. 


To listen to recordings of the Sessions, please click see links at the bottom of the page.


The Forum was facilitated by Trevor Hutton (Formission Director of Church Planting and Forge England and Wales), and began with coffee and a short time of sung worship and prayer which preceded two short 30 minute seminars from members of the national Fresh Expressions of Church team.  We were challenged by Graham Horsley (Methodist Connexional Fresh Expressions Missioner) to think of ways in which we could help sustain those that are taking the risks in church planting and Pete Atkins (Fresh Expressions coordinator for the team’s activities) challenged us to reflect on how to form and sustain new communities of faith for unreached people in culturally appropriate ways.

Following the mini seminars, the Forum split into several breakout groups for one hour to discuss issues and questions that arose from the seminars. The breakout groups provided a space to discuss issues and exchange stories and ideas.

Following lunch, which gave an opportunity to network, we came together again in plenary session to hear our third and fourth mini seminars. Joel Edwards (International Director for Micah Challenge) challenged us to grapple with the fluid and complex realities of cultural diversity and contextual issues and Mike Pears (Director of Urban Life) challenged us to think about how we might connect with rapidly challenging urban contexts which are both growing in number, shape and form.  Following the mini seminars the breakout groups provided an opportunity to discuss important questions and issues that emerged from the two talks.   

The Forum came to a close with “reflections on the day” given by Steve Clifford (General Director of the Evangelical Alliance UK) which helped to summarise the emerging conversations and themes of the day.  Martin Robinson (Chief Executive of ForMission and Principal of ForMission College) thanked everyone for coming and concluded with prayer.

The Forum was a place where we gathered together to learn from one another, to share stories and exchange ideas. We came to wrestle with issues that don’t have easy answers. But it was the opportunity to explore together that was perhaps the most important thing of all.  We may have left with more questions than answers, but at least we are beginning to ask some of the right questions and remind ourselves that we do not travel alone.

The 2017 Church Planting Forum will take place on Wednesday 8th February 2017.

For further reflections on the Forum see Musings Over Coffee and for ongoing discussions, news and ideas visit  www.facebook.com/ChurchPlantingForum

Trevor Hutton
Formission Director of Church Planting and Forge England and Wales


Session Recordings:

Graham Horsley – Sustaining the Sustainers


Joel Edwards – Church Planting and Cross Cultural Ministry


Mike Pears – Church Planting and the Urban Setting


Pete Atkins – Church Planting and Fresh Expressions


Steve Clifford – Reflections