Exponential 2018 was one of my first opportunities to participate in a conference for church planters, disciple makers, and multipliers. In my church background, the only time I would see a church “multiply” was when it would split over issues either big or small. Very rarely in my community do you see a church empower, equip, and send people out to truly multiply.
One of my main takeaways from Exponential 2018 came from the workshops and main sessions. Not only was I able to see strong, assertive women speak about the heart and passion of Jesus, but I also observed and heard men affirming their women counterparts in their roles as church planters. I heard them say words/phrases like “when he or she is called to plant/multiply…” rather than just “he” like it was an intentional thing. For some people this may not seem like a big deal. But when you’re planted in deeply southern culture where a woman’s role is relegated to only teaching in women’s ministry or leading children, you can see how the use of these simple phrases could reaffirm a genuine calling in a woman to move in and plant a church she has been called to plant for the cause of Christ. I had the opportunity to move from a place of feeling completely unsupported in my goals to fully supported by men and women alike.
During the Healthy Growing Churches Pre-Conference Equipping Lab, I was also able to network with other leaders – people who are thriving in their ministries and those who are just treading water. The huddle times provided an excellent opportunity to talk about challenges we face in ministry and to provide necessary encouragement. My hope is that many of the people we met in this setting will become life-long friends.
Here is an excerpt from my journal as I wrote about my experience at Exponential: “I thought there was something wrong with me regarding what I believe about church, discipleship, empowerment, equipping, and multiplication. What I came away knowing is I am not the freak! I am not alone!”