I’m not very good at drawing (and in the UK we call them serviettes which doesn’t have the same ring), but as a Manchester church leader drawing my ‘dream serviette’ used to be easy – circle for the M60, drop a few dots around for new Ivy churches.
I was running that plan until I went to Chicago in 2014 where God challenged me through coaching and friendship with Dave, Jon and other NewThing leaders to draw the UK, and help, partner with and encourage others planting here (we’re going to roll out that same coaching community in the UK in early 2019, first details and application opportunity will be revealed at LAUNCH).
In 2015 I met again with other Dave and a few others in Nairobi Chapel, where its incredible leader Oscar Muriu drew the whole world (rather well), parcelled it off and challenged us to be part of vision of helping 10,000 new reproducing churches get planted around the world by 2020. Well I knew they couldn’t all be Ivy churches! But I also knew I had no clue how to get started in Europe, until Oscar told me, “In Africa if you want to attract the animals, you need a watering hole – start to gather leaders who are hungry and thirsty for something more!”
So I dug a hole in Manchester in 2016 – 250 leaders gathered from across the UK and some from other parts of Europe for an ‘Exponential Conversation.’ The challenge from leaders like Ying Kai was that ‘God is still able, if we make ourselves available.”
I could have done with that napkin for a different reason in 2017 when in a bigger venue I sat with tears streaming down my face, listening to Jossy Chacko’s stories of God using the most broken people to reach the most people. I pinched myself several times at the incredible line up of speakers who challenged 400 of us coming from even further afield to LAUNCH out into deeper waters – and let down our nets for a catch. The feedback was incredibly positive, but more importantly from both those gatherings I know that many churches have been planted, networks begun, decline turned around and movements galvanised!
We decided to go again – in an even bigger space. I approached my good friend Dave Belfield who had been with us for both events and he graciously agreed to host LAUNCH 18 at The Edge. I shot for the moon on some amazing speakers who gave us a great problem when they all said yes! We are now oversubscribed at 550 leaders attending this year, so please join me to pray in this last month for a move of God – not just another great event.
I am so excited with just a month to go, but as I look down the list of delegates coming from so many churches; with leaders of streams and denominations from many other nations and continents – I’m tearing up the napkin – because God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or imagine, and I believe the significance and influence of this gathering of Hero Makers will extend far beyond Europe.
That’s why in 2019 LAUNCH won’t just be launcheurope – watch this space for more details and a very special deal limited time deal on how to book for it. I’ll be revealing the names of some confirmed speakers coming from around the world when we’re at Wigan, but whether you managed to get in this year or not you will NOT want to miss that, so for now put 11th-13thNovember 2019 in the diary, to get a space at the watering hole!