Last week I had the opportunity to travel with a couple of staff members to Louisville, Kentucky, for the Acts 29 Network Boot Camp hosted by Sojourn Community Church. This is the third Boot Camp I’ve attended and true to form, it was a blessing to attend. Initially our team went to deepen newly-formed friendships with those in the network. My church has only been in Acts 29 for a few months, but we feel an immediate kinship with the men who follow the calling to both plant and lead churches. It is something that has been our church’s heartbeat from the beginning, and it always energizes us to spend time with our brothers-in-arms.
Louisville didn’t disappoint.
For me, the best time isn’t necessarily in the sessions or breakouts (even though they are absolutely wonderful) but the conversations that happen before, between and after them. Just a sampling:
- Scott Thomas, Tyler Powell and Adriel Afland who make up the Acts 29 Network Team. They are gracious, sincere and tireless when it comes to church planting and serving those who plant them. Even though we’re the new kids on the block, they have always made us feel welcome. Love those guys!
- Jared Kennedy of SojournKids. I don’t know of any churches who do as well as Sojourn when it comes to thinking through what it means to be gospel-centered with children’s ministry. Jared was not only kind enough to talk with me about their plans but offered materials as well.
- Steve Timmis, author of Total Church and Director of Acts 29 Western Europe. I shared with Steve my blossoming interest in soccer, specifically the English Premiere League. In asking him questions that almost anyone from England would laugh at, he was kind to answer with grace. That was until I told him I was a Chelsea fan. From that point on, I think he questioned my salvation (Timmis being a Manchester United fan).
- Daniel Montgomery, Lead Pastor of Sojourn Community Church. Daniel found me in the lobby before a session and asked if I wanted a tour of the church building. We agreed to do it after the session. Everything ran longer than expected and he wound up inviting me, Bruce Wesley (our Senior Pastor) and Brad Loser (our worship leader) to dinner that evening along with a handful of executive pastors from other churches. I appreciate him letting us crash his dinner plans. He was a wonderful host and a brilliant guy!
- Rat Ortlund, Lead Pastor of Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee. Ray led a workshop on revival. I simply wanted to attend just to be around him. I didn’t know him personally; however, there are a few people I just want to hang out with so I can feel the heat of their passion for Christ. Ray is one of those people. He could have talked about anything and I would’ve listened.
- The Brothers Acts 29. I ran into old friends, not-so-old friends and made new friends. Acts 29 Network is truly a network, an ever-growing and deepening web of relationships. So whether it was Dustin, Jacob, Darrin, Nick, Josh, Joe, Hunter, etc. my time was well spent hanging out with these fellow partners in the gospel, hearing their stories and leaving grateful for God’s grace in their lives.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to stay the entire time. Both Bruce and I had to lead our respective parts in our church’s Leadership Development Process back in Houston. Nevertheless, the short amount of time was well worth it! I don’t know the next Boot Camp I’ll be able to make, but if and when I do, I trust it will be full of hope, laughter and friendship.