August 2013

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The Next Church Planting Leadership Fellowship: African American and Urban Planting

I love church planting. I know that's probably no surprise to most of you, but I am convinced that we need more church plants and more church planters. I am even serving as the volunteer planting/lead pastor of a church in the Nashville area, Grace Church. What's more, I am a student of church planting. I love learning from those who are planting churches across North America and around the globe.

Twice a year I host a gathering called the Church Planting Leadership Fellowship (CPLF). The membership is composed of those involved in church planting leadership from across North America. In order to be a part you have to be a network or denominational leader of planting, or the primary representative responsible for church planting in your denomination or network. Typically, those gathered for CPLF represent around 75% of all church plants in North America each year. We gather twice a year to learn from the best church planting experts, have times of peer learning, and share ideas. We process through church planting together, and our efforts are greatly served by these times together.

If you want a taste of what these meetings are like, here are a few recaps from previous meetings.

This year, as usual, I am hosting two meetings of the CPLF. The first will be in August, and this time together will focus on African-American and urban church planting. Day one will feature the release of some substantial research on the state and best practices of African-American church planting in North America. We put together an advisory council to assist in the research, including Stacy Hilliard (Evangelism USA / International Pentecostal Holiness Church), Candace Lewis (Path1 / United Methodist), Wy Plummer (African American Ministries Coordinator, Presbyterian Church of America), Carl Ellis (President, Project Joseph), and Leroy Fountain (NAMB / Southern Baptist).

They will help us unpack the data, as well as provide some Q&A pertaining to the data. The full research project will be given to the multiple denominations who underwrote the study, we will present the data to the members of the CPLF, and we will release parts of it in the future (and I will post it on the blog when we do).

Day two will feature a specific focus on church planting in the urban context as we will hear from practitioners from across the U.S.

Our speakers this year include Olu Brown, planting pastor at Impact Church in Atlanta, GA, Derwin Gray, planting pastor at Transformation Church in Charlotte, NC, Leonce Crump, planting pastor at Renovation Church in Atlanta, GA and Linda Berquist, church planting catalyst in the San Francisco Bay area.

If you are involved in church planting, on the level of leading a denomination or network's church planting emphasis, we would love for you to consider becoming a part of the CPLF. Our team will gladly get an application to you so that you can become part of our learning community. If you are interested in joining, email Shirley Cross at

Originally posted on on May 22, 2013

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Church Planter Candidate Assessment