One of the roles I serve is as a committee member for the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC) Congregational Church Development (CCD) committee. Our job is to help the local church, church planters, and new church core groups in the establishment of new Congregational Christian churches.
With that as our charge, I get the opportunity to represent our association at the Church Planting Leaders Fellowship (CPLF). CPLF is a pet project of Ed Stetzer's that is held in Nashville, TN at the Lifeway office where Ed works. This is a gathering of like minded evangelical denominations and networks where we share and learn best practices and network for church planting to advance the Gospel. The idea is we can learn from each other without collaborating or competing. Ed is pretty big on the idea that churches aren't planted cross-denominationally, and I'm inclined to trust his expert opinion on this.
So early (3:45AM!) on Wednesday I got up made it to the airport and on to Nashville. We spent the next two days learning from Bob Logan, Hugh Halter, Neil Cole, Alan Hirsch and Ed Stetzer. Bob's focus was on leadership and Hugh and Alan were more focused on the future of church planting in incarnational and missional ways. And Alan Hirsch touched on things from all over the map and was largely pushing us to re-think church planting in new and creative ways including but not limited to what Neil & Hugh were advocating.
Truly mentally stimulating, even if you didn't always agree with everything being said.
My flight into Nashville ran a bit late due to rain en route, so I was unable to eat at one of my all time favorite places - Monell's. Probably for the best because it is a diet killer kind of meal, but oh-so-worth the calories. We did make it to Jack's Bar-B-Que last night for supper at least. I had pork shoulder (shredded), brisket, and smoked chicken. The brisket was by far the best of the three, and the chicken and pork we quite good as well. Mac & cheese wasn't all that good, corn was really good, and the corn bread was some of the worst I've had. But I'd definitely go back for the brisket. A couple other guys I was with got some St. Louis style ribs that looked outstanding and they said the ribs were the best of the meats they tried. Next time. St. Louis style is my favorite, but I didn't want to tease my mouth with just a few bones. Definitely next time. And I must say I really like Jack's Kansas City Style BBQ sauce!
I will certainly sleep well tonight though. It's been a long and busy week already!
Update - Ed Stetzer's thoughts on the CPLF.