On stage there is a large wall, made of large Styrofoam blocks. On the other side of the stage there is a door roughly framed out of 2×4’s. Construction materials, a chop saw and other tools lay about on the stage. Renovations.


I’m in Calgary for Renov8 a Church Planting Congress gathering 700 people interested in church planting from across Canada. A month ago I never knew that such a meeting or organization existed. Now I’m here.


On the first night some members of the audience were invited to the don hardhats, safety goggles and a sledgehammer to take a few whacks at the wall. The wall still stands  . . . but some blocks are gone — it reminds me of the broken Berlin wall.



  • it’s messy
  • it costs more than you think
  • it’s worth it in the end


The conference organizers felt it an apt symbol of the work the church in Canada needs to do today. We were asked, “What walls need to be broken down in us before we can get on with building and planting new church gatherings to faithfully respond to God’s mission in the world in the 21st century?”


I’m glad to be here. And in my experience so far on this journey — the question above is the right question. Because I have found this journey in church planting to be much more an inner spiritual journey than I would have first imagined when I began.


It is also one that is more lonely than I would’ve imagined. I have yet to meet another United Church person here. And while some of the theological emphasis and culture is not the same as my tribe, this is no lightweight pep rally affair. Profound theological questions are being asked. The postmodern, intercultural context of Canada is being seriously engaged. The speakers are superb. And I’m blessed to be here in the renovations zone.


Stay posted for another Renov8 report. . .


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