Church Planters Conference To Gather Innovators In Dallas

Planters graphic

Event is for those who are already engaged in planting new ministries and those who may want to start something new

When church planters and ministry innovators gather in Dallas on April 26-27 for the 2022 Planters’ Gathering, it will be the first national gathering of its kind at this scale. Center for Church Development Associate Director Matt Temple is coordinating this effort to bring together those who are already engaged in planting new ministries and those who may want to start something new.

“Anyone who wants to come can come – whether that’s lay people that want to start something new in their church, people who have an idea for a new faith community or people who are in a more established church that want to do some innovation to revitalize their established congregations. There really will be something for everyone,” Rev. Temple said.

“I hope that people will feel connected again to the broader United Methodist Church and particularly startups in the UMC,” Temple said. “I also hope that they’ll feel encouraged because doing ministry in what is a really difficult season, it can be easy to feel discouraged. I hope that people will be inspired by new ideas, by learning something new and seeing it in action, inspired by a way of innovating that could work in their contexts.”

The Planters’ Gathering will include keynotes from seasoned leaders in church planting ministries, as well as breakout sessions from experienced practitioners. Some sessions will be offered in Spanish.

Keynote speaker Rev. Rachel Gilmore and her husband, Rev. Brandon Gilmore, serve as pastors at Central UMC in Phoenix, Ariz.,where they are creating a new faith community while revitalizing the existing congregation.

“I’m excited to be able to gather safely in person and share our lives and experiences with each other,” Rev. Gilmore said. “It’s been a rough couple of years and no one is exactly certain about what the future holds for the church, but this gathering is a chance to dream, laugh and vision together as a connectional body.”

Rev. Derek Jacobs, Pastor of The Village church plant in DeSoto, Texas, will offer a keynote address with insights on what leaders can do to sustain church growth in the here and now, as well as in the world beyond this season. While sustaining church growth, Jacobs also emphasizes the need to care for one’s own soul.

In addition to speakers and breakout sessions, the Planters’ Gathering will include hands-on learning and evening meals at local ministries that are successfully innovating in their particular settings. There will also be an after-hours suite for people to enjoy refreshments and connect with others during the downtime between workshops and presentations.

Rev. Temple highlights the importance of this alongside the other offerings. “Between these terrific national voices as keynote speakers and local leaders offering breakouts, we’re making space for people to build relationships. We want people to leave feeling like they have a fresh, renewed sense of vision, passion and energy,” Temple said.

Even experienced church planters like Melissa UMC Senior Pastor Rev. Stacey Piyakuhn recognize the need to feel connected with others in this work. “It’s really easy as a planter to feel like you’re in this by yourself, which of course we’re not,” Rev. Piyakuhn said. “So I’m excited for the camaraderie and the fellowship that happens in those gatherings, for the ideas that come out of that.”

Rev. Piyakuhn will offer a workshop during the conference and share her experiences across multiple iterations of church planting. She hopes attendees will find the encouragement and support that has nurtured her in this work, as well as learning for today’s landscape . “What is the new thing God is doing in the world of church planting? I’m looking forward to that conversation and the deepening that the Holy Spirit does when we all sit in the same place and play all that out together.”

The Planters’ Gathering aims to have something that everyone can take and adapt for their own contexts. It has been a high priority for the planning team to ensure a multicultural and multi-lingual approach.


Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2022