In 2017, we were excited to launch our institute certificate training program in full force! Piloted in the previous years internationally, in 2017 we returned to our international locations, as well as launch our training in Montreal, Quebec and Houston, Texas with resounding success. Overall, we were able to train over 300 church leaders in the past year alone!
In Partnership with Disciple 21, the Asbury team facilitated a Hispanic Church Planting training on our Florida-Dunnam Campus. With over 75 leaders gathered from four states, this training marked a milestone as it was our first official institute training offered in North America. Built specifically for Hispanic contexts within the US, the training focused on the topics of the work of the Holy Spirit, the Principles of Movement, and the Heart of a Leader.
In Houston, we partnered with the Houston Church Planting Network for phase one of three in order to explore the dynamics of church planting models and the integration of missional leadership for diverse contexts. This particular cohort consisted of 25 future future and current cross-denominational planters who have collaborated in a group effort to reach the city of Houston with the Gospel. It was our privilege to come alongside this cohort to help foster deep discussion and formation to equip the next generation of planters!
The CPI partnership in Brazil has been well received by the students at FATEO, the Methodist Theological Seminary in São Paulo. Led by Ph.D. Student Bud Simon who spent almost 20 years as a church planter in Brazil before coming to Asbury, the Brazilian cohort met in both March and October, with Dr. Jay Moon accompanying Bud in March, and Dr. Kima Pachuau co-teaching in October. When asked about his experience this year, Bud noted how the Students at FATEO appreciated Asbury’s perspective on Church Planting as they expressed the need for teaching “that strikes a practical and theological balance.”
In addition to continuing our international partnerships and creating new ones domestically, this June marked a milestone as we gathered 60 leaders from 21 different countries for our first ever Global Church Planting Summit. Hosted at Nazarene Theological College in Manchester, UK, we were led through this week by keynote Speakers Dr. Timothy Tennent, Dr. Kim Reisman, and Bishops John Gallipalli and Joao Carlos Lopes. Through a connectional approach, this week of learning consisted of hearing case studies and testimonies from all around the world as we fostered a learning environment through deep friendships and vital networking. In the words of Dr. Gregg Okesson, Dean, E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism, “The Global Summit offered a fantastic opportunity to learn collaboratively with global leaders in church planting. The case study approach facilitated the cross-fertilization of learning. The Summit, likewise, led to new friendships around the world. For me, the Summit has been one of the highlights of my time at Asbury! We are continuing to learn from the experiences we heard from our brothers and sisters around the world and are excited to incorporate these lessons into the way we view Church Planting at Asbury.” A truly historic event, this served as the highlight of the church planting year and we are looking forward to hosting many more of these amazing times of worship and connection in the years to come!