Train the Trainer: Vancouver

Last August we held our first Train the Trainer event, which was our first attempt to truly decentralize the church planter trainings we've been doing at our offices in New York for over ten years, and to pass both our material and our relational method of learning on to other cities and networks.  

That event was attended by network leaders from ten countries, including Gordon Fleming fromChurch Planting BC in British Columbia, Canada. Canada has seen one of the most rapid declines in church attendance and belief in the Western world, but recently there has been a remarkable resurgence in church planting in Vancouver and other Canadian cities (see Church Planting BC's video of their planters). Alastair & Julia Sterne, part of our 2011 International Intensive, are also part of this movement.

Seeing parallels between what is happening in Vancouver and New York City, Gord invited Redeemer City to City directors Mark Reynolds and John Thomas to come to Vancouver to deliver a similar training to his network of church planters. The training took place January 9-13.

Some of the feedback given on the training was:
"The whole concept of non-formal learning that is transformational blew me away. With many years of study and learning I'd never heard of this concept and method before."
"This was highly transferable to a Vancouver context."
"I appreciated the personal gospel reflection as foundational & permeating the course; otherwise we simply default to techniques & methodologies."
"We all are in need of continuing 'conversion'— we should not underestimate, or assume, the need for people to keep integrating the gospel into their lives. I'm afraid for teachers who are not dynamically experiencing the gospel."

Chris Douglas, Associate Director of Church Planting BC, said "It is this kind of originality which is needed in the church today. I was encouraged that, while the training modules contain objective educational principles, they are grounded in God’s Word, and are Holy Spirit dependent.  This isn’t just another man made remedy.  It is solid, gospel-fluent material that is applicable to the task of planting churches, furthering the Good News of Jesus Christ, and fulfilling the Great Commission in our cities.

"Church Planting BC will be introducing this material to our planters beginning in March of this year.  We’re looking forward to learning together, the fellowship that will be created as a result of working through these modules, and most importantly, seeing our planters challenged, fed and inspired in their calling.  We’re grateful to the Redeemer network, and thank God for their partnership with us."

Church planter and coach Adam Wiggins added, "In Vancouver we have so much in common with NYC. Having said that Vancouver is so radically secular. I think there is probably even less of a memory of the gospel and Christianity here which impacts how we contextualize. We work hard at trying to understand how to communicate the gospel to a people who have no understanding to draw on. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is at work in people's hearts no matter what their background is!"

You can find photos of the event, taken by Denise Kneebone, on Flickr. For more on the spiritual climate of Vancouver, see the short film commissioned by the Sternes for their church plant, This is Vancouver