From May 9-11, 58 urban church leaders and planters from leading cities in North America gathered at the Trinity Conference Center in West Cornwall, CT, for a retreat. This network, which is yet to be named officially, consists of leaders who share a vision for Gospel movements in their cities.
As the follow-up to a conference in Miami in 2010, the retreat was meant to build and strengthen relationships among peers, share ideas and insights on the difficult issues particular to ministry in urban situations, and determine the need for a new network - one that would not replace other networks, but would be trans-denominational and help create city-wide movements between the different ministries in a city. This gathering exhibited the experimental nature of the network and provided the opportunity for attendees to encourage each other and brainstorm what this sort of collaboration could look like.
Bryan Loritts from Fellowship Memphis, Jon Tyson from Trinity Grace Church in New York City, Rick McKinley from Imago Dei in Portland and Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church all introduced conversations on key topics that included discussions about ethnic and socio-economic diversity, challenges in dealing with the changing norms in sexuality, faith and work, and the spiritual life of a church planter. Participants also discussed ideas on how to work city-wide with other churches to do justice and mercy or prayer.
The beautiful weather and great worship and prayer contributed to a refreshing time of relationship-building, recreation, and conversations late into the night. This group was only representative of the bigger picture, and we look forward to planning more events where all of these like-minded church planters can be together.