Announcing The Gathering’s Church Planters Lab//M-Note 5.11.24

We’ve been quietly working on a project here at The Gathering that I’m so excited to finally share with you. This summer, we will officially launch The Gathering’s Church Planters Lab, by welcoming three amazing pastoral fellows to our staff team.

What is the Church Planters Lab?

It was conceived as a way for The Gathering to help nurture and develop pastors on a continuous basis. The Lab is in collaboration with and partially funded by the Missouri United Methodist Foundation and the Missouri Annual Conference.

The purpose of the Lab is to develop pastors as planters of new churches/sites - possibly future sites of The Gathering or future churches within the Missouri Conference.

Participants will receive both educational training and hands-on experience. I will lead them through a planned curriculum every week, they’ll shadow our ministry leaders, and spend time working on how to develop a new church site, including things like demographic analysis, relationship building, and leadership structure.

I’m thrilled to introduce you to our inaugural class of The Gathering’s Church Planters Lab:

Aaron Carter is coming to us from Simpson United Methodist Church in Austin, TX, where he has been serving as their lead pastor. He graduated from Newman University in Wichita, KS, with a degree in psychology and earned his Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. His hope is for people to experience transformative encounters with God that assures them of Jesus’ word that they are loved by God as children.

Morgan Dynes recently earned her Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC. While in seminary, she was an intern with Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City online ministries. She also earned a bachelor's degree in communications studies with a minor in business from Louisiana State University, focused on rhetoric, exploring how and why people communicate the way that they do. She has had mentors who were church planters and is excited about learning more about church planting while at The Gathering.

Our final fellow you already know as The Gathering’s McCausland Site Director…Brittany Radford! In addition to participating in the Church Planters Lab, Brittany is working toward becoming a United Methodist Licensed Local Pastor this summer, and will continue her ordination process by beginning at Eden Theological Seminary this fall. Brittany earned a master’s degree in Human Development and Family Sciences from Mississippi State University, focusing her research on the relationship between faith, youth development, and racism in the United Methodist Church, and worked in higher education and non-profit management for 10 years.

Morgan and Aaron will officially join Brittany and the team onsite here in July, and I know you’ll join me in providing them a Gathering-worthy welcome.

I’m excited to be back preaching this weekend to continue our series, Uncomfortable Truths: A Study of the Minor Prophets. I’ll be covering Joel, and spending time digging more deeply into the events of General Conference.

Have a great weekend, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

P.S. Summer is upon us, and I’m so excited that The Gathering is trying something new with Summer Hangs - a way to focus on fun and fellowship when Core Groups are on hiatus. I hope you’ll consider hosting one and definitely participating in one - or more!
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