What Launchpad is all about
February 13, 2018 / By Rev. Dave Masland, Director of New Faith Communities
On Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3, 52 people gathered at the United Methodist Center for Upper NY Conference’s Launchpad 2018. Launchpad is essentially a boot camp for people that feel called by God to plant a New Faith Community in their neighborhood. The materials were developed by Path 1, the planting arm of the United Methodist Church. Three years ago, Bill Vallet and I were approved by Path 1 to teach these materials in Upper NY Conference. This most recent Launchpad was the third annual event hosted by our Conference. Seven of the persons in attendance came to us from the Susquehanna Conference. Otherwise, all participants were people from existing Upper NY churches who believe God is calling them to start New Faith Communities. A total of 16 teams of people were present, each one representing a different plan in a different place.
What happens at Launchpad? According to Path 1, there are seven seasons of planting a new church or faith community. Participants in Launchpad learn about the first five seasons, and then have a chance to apply them to their own unique context. The Seasons of Discerning, Visioning and Gathering are covered on Day 1. The Seasons of Discipling and Worshipping are covered on Day 2. Lead planters have a lot of time between teaching sessions to work with their teams to discern who God is calling them to focus on reaching, and what strategy they will use. They work hard to develop a concise Vision for their New Faith Community and have time to practice casting that vision to participants from other groups. By the end of the two days, each team leaves with a detailed action plan and timeline for the next six months… moving them toward launching their New Faith Community.
The best part of Launchpad is the peer learning that happens. While the presenters share a lot of helpful information and teach new skills and ways of thinking, the best learning happens as the teams listen to and learn from one another. One of the last activities of Launchpad is a 3-5 minute presentation by each team, sharing their vision, target group, strategy, timelines and action plans with everyone else. There are “aha” moments for everyone! And, people leave ready to work their plan when they get home.
Please pray for each of the 16 teams who attended Launchpad, that God will give them the courage, wisdom and energy they will need to start a new place for new peopl