Stadia kicked off 2018 in fabulous Las Vegas with a gathering of catalytic leaders from around the country who want to see church planting accelerate in their cities.
Each leader brought different experiences to the table. Some had 30 plus years of church planting experience, while others were still within the first couple of years of their church plant. Some church planters felt called to the city where they grew up, while others followed God’s call across the country. Their differences created a rich opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other and especially dream big about how church planting can expand the Kingdom.
When you start collaborating, things start happening. This is what these catalytic leaders talked about and considered when dreaming about reaching their cities. Church planters were challenged to consider the hardships found in their city by listing the pains of their city as specifically as possible. Loneliness, poverty, racism, and drugs were a few that made the list. How can the local church possibly combat all the pains of a city alone? Quite simply, the church can’t. At least not alone. This is where collaboration comes in and brings amazing life change and renewal along with it.
The idea of collaborating with other churches seems simple, but consider how many churches are planted in your city in a year. What if those churches all worked together, to better reach each neighborhood in a more strategic and intentional way? When churches begin collaborating, things happen that couldn’t happen independently. And so, the first ever Stadia Catalyst Gathering became a place for church planters to dream big about collaborating in their cities. But they didn’t stop there.
Church planters mapped out their cities, their neighborhoods, and highlighted other churches with the desire to collaborate. Bart Stone of Momentum Church in Atlanta, Georgia said, “This isn’t a ‘sit around and wait for heaven’ type of thing.” He shared a hand-drawn map of the south-side of Atlanta, dotted with current and future church plants. It showed where the Kingdom had not been intentionally taken yet. As Bart said, church isn’t about waiting for heaven, it is about reaching out into the darkness in the power of Jesus.
Nathan Hawkins, Stadia’s West Regional Executive, asked, “What if instead of measuring church attendance by church, we measure by region?” Church planting is all about collaboration and Kingdom-mindedness; it’s about having God’s Kingdom expand anywhere and everywhere. There are too many people far from God not to be Kingdom-minded. There are too many people far from God to sit around and wait for heaven.
That is why we are so excited about the first Stadia Catalyst Gathering. It was a time for people passionate about church planting to dream, encourage, and learn. It challenged church planters to consider the pains of their city and how the church is responding to those pains. We’re excited to see how these leaders engage the churches in their cities to collaboratively change their region. We’re excited to see how God works through them to see a new generation of church planters equipped and encouraged to bring about real change in Jesus’ name.
Molly Williams, Planter Development Intern
Molly graduated from UNC Wilmington in December with a degree in English Literary Studies with Honors. She is attending North Carolina State this summer to get a Masters of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in secondary English. Molly grew up in a Stadia church plant and has been heavily involved in campus ministry at UNC Wilmington. She is currently a high school youth volunteer at her home church and is the daughter of Stadia church planters Donnie & Cinda Williams.
Are you a catalytic leader who is ready to start a great church? Stadia is ready to help!