This reflection of the recent E4H is from Neil Bassingthwaighte. Neil is the new National Mission Director, and will begin officially in August.
A Fresh Perspective
I recently had the privilege of attending E4H, which was held this year at ACTS. Equip For Harvest (E4H) is a training event for church planters, which has been referred to in the past as a church planting boot camp. I’m not sure what previous E4Hs were like, since I have never attended before; but I have to say, after attending this one, I am anticipating God doing some great things in the future.
Although we probably shouldn’t, we often evaluate training events such as E4H based on attendance or the personality of the instructor. It would be easy to do that with this E4H. There were close to 30 people in attendance, including instructors. There were people from various Evangelical Free Churches, a Baptist or two, a couple of Anglicans and even an entire church planting team of 9 people from Williams Lake, BC. The instructors were great. We were lead by Charlie Worley and his teaching team of Chris Yu, Phil Yung, Steve Sharpe, Lorin Bergen and Bill Taylor.
A Continuing Legacy of Church Planter Training
The content of the teaching was excellent, and was enhanced by the instructors being able to share out of both their triumphs and failures as church planters. A key component of the training was a visit to a church plant, on the Sunday morning, to observe and analyze the effectiveness of the church plant. As good as all those things were; they are not the primary reasons why I am anticipating God doing great things after this E4H.
For me a couple other things stood out as the key highlights. First was the prominent emphasis on disciple making. E4H started with the underlying foundation that we are called to be making disciples who make disciples. Over and over again, we were brought back to this. In fact, one of our instructors even mentioned that we were never called to plant churches, but to make disciples. I deeply appreciated this emphasis, especially as I anticipate my new role as National Mission Director with the EFCC.
One of the things that I believe is imperative for us as the Free Church is to once again be a mission movement that makes disciples who make disciples. At E4H we saw God raising up men and women to be disciple making missionaries in North America. That makes me excited.
But the most powerful E4H highlight, for me, came on the final day. Each church planter or team presented their church plant proposal. It became apparent that God had been at work. At the start of the weekend some of the teams didn’t have a clearly defined idea of what God was calling them to.
They just had an interest in church planting.
By the time the final day came, each and every presenter clearly outlined who God was calling them to reach and how they believed God wanted them to accomplish that. The passion and heart that they presented with left everyone with goose bumps. It was clear that the Holy Spirit had been at work, using what had been taught to help shape and mold servants of his.
If this E4H is any indication, the future is bright.
God is up to something. One of the best ways we can join God in what he is doing is to pray for the workers God has and will continue to raise up for the harvest.