Jul 31, 2019

Webster’s Dictionary defines “exponential” as…

No, just kidding. I’m not about to give an awkward wedding toast. I’m just going to be short and sweet.

I think you should come to Exponential 2020.

Also, I lied a little bit because I really DID look up “exponential” before I wrote this post and it probably won’t be that short.

Because I’m a little bit of a word nerd, I ended up reading definitions on several ancilliary pages, and the meaning of the word “exponent” caught my attention. It can mean the little number next to the big number that means you multiply that number by itself ‘x’ number of times – and I love that imagery when it comes to church planting!

But ‘exponent’ can also mean “one that champions, practices, or exemplifies.” An exponent of something advocates for it, talks about it, supports it – they are a ‘gospeler’.

So, I’m writing to tell you to come to Exponential 2020 because I’m an exponent of it. Never in my life have I experienced the level of camaraderie that I’ve found at Exponential. Church planting is hard work. It would be easy for each different church planting organization and network to put our heads down and blinders on, focusing on making sure we are bringing enough planters into our own organization, raising enough money for our own work. But at Exponential, you find that this is not the case. The vast majority of church planting organizations are about getting churches planted, not making their own name great. They’re about resourcing the exponents of the Gospel in cities, towns, and villages all around the world, not amassing resources for themselves. When you go to Exponential, you find a community of people all on the same mission – planting churches to spread the hope of Jesus. That kind of Christ-centric energy is palpable – and it’s contagious.

When I went to my first Expo in 2015, I was still just thinking about working for Stadia. I liked what they were doing – it seemed pretty cool. And it let me stay at home with my son, which was a huge win. But by the time I left Exponential, I knew I wanted to work for Stadia for as long as they’d let me – not because Stadia is so amazing (though I think it is), but because just a few days in the presence of church planting exponents had me fully convinced that church planting is the best way to share the hope of Jesus. I wake up each day with a very limited energy reserve – but when I’m at Expo, I can pour myself out twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, because I’m working in service of a mission that is of eternal import. Being at Expo reminds you that the grind, the struggle, the hard parts of church planting and helping to plant churches – all of it matters, every single day.

Which brings me to another reason I think you should go to Expo 2020. If you’re not already an exponent of church planting, after Exponential, you will be. Besides hearing some of the greatest minds in church planting share their encouragement, truth, and wisdom with you, you are going to want to go home and tell everyone you know about church planting.

I’m a person of logic, of black-and-white. For me, statistics are powerful and move me to act. But even for someone as unsentimental as myself, there’s nothing like hearing the stories of church planters from their own mouths. The combination of stats and story at Exponential make for a virtual breeding ground of church planting exponents. Perhaps there’s someone in your church that the Holy Spirit is prodding you to invite into the church planting journey – bring them to Exponential. Maybe the Spirit is disturbing your own heart to step away from the comfortable and start into the unknown – go to Exponential. Maybe you have some resourced church members who just don’t understand why your church is so “into” this church planting thing – bring them to Exponential. You cannot walk away from such a Christ-focused event without a deep understanding of the importance of church planting.

Jesus is the hope of the world. Church planting exposes people to the truth of Jesus. That’s why I’m an exponent – and I can’t wait for Exponential. Come be an exponent with us.

Josie Barton

Marketing Manager, Stadia Church Planting