Announcing Expedition Church Planting and Revitalisation Programme

Expedition is now open for applications. Apply here

When westerners first began to climb Everest, from the 1950s until the early 1980s, just a handful of people every year would make it to the summit. They were the world’s greatest climbers – people who were uniquely capable of functioning at high altitudes and in extreme situations.

From the 1980s, the number of people who were able to reach the summit of Everest exploded. And that’s all because of Rich Hall, a New Zealander. He understood that the challenge of climbing Everest was essentially a logistical one: getting oxygen and supplies high enough up the mountain was the main limiting factor. If you can address that, you can take fairly average climbers and safely get them to the top and back again. Today, we see queues of people trying to make the summit: not necessarily a good thing, but proof that Rich Hall had been right.

Training for the journey

Expedition aims to make the hard work of church planting realistic, healthy and sustainable by training and supporting people so they are able to make the journey. It prioritises delight in Christ, formation of leadership character, and the development of wise, contextualised plans.

Church planting and revitalisation requires pretty normal people, but it will place them into quite extraordinary contexts. So it can’t be right that ‘elite’, macho people are the only people who can survive church planting or revitalisation. If people can access the right training, mentoring, and commit the time and space to reflect on and apply what they’re learning, they’ll have the oxygen and supplies they need to survive and thrive.

An uphill climb

Many of the challenges that the church faces when trying to plant or revitalise are really significant. And they are far from uniform or predictable: the challenges are specific to each context and team.

Previous generations of church planters have sometimes gone about the process of church planting by seeking to emulate or repeat what they’ve seen done before; some have even been pushed into ‘one size fits all’ models of planting.

The cultural moment that we’re in requires more than a ‘rinse and repeat’ model. The church needs people who are better equipped and better resourced to reach their individual areas wisely and well, and to pursue healthy leadership models that will serve Christ’s people in the place that God has called them to.

Experienced guides

Expedition places you in a peer group, and gives you all the benefit of experienced practitioners teaching a rich biblical syllabus.

The values that Expedition is founded on are:

  • Disciples first. We recognise that everyone in our community of lifelong learners is a disciple first. We pray that our students will grow in dependence on Christ and the power of His word.
  • Development not replication. We aim to train the individual, rather than recreate a pipeline that has worked for others. We recognise that everyone’s pathway through ministry is different.
  • Community not competition. We prioritise real change, gospel relationships and shared reliance between our students.
  • Rigorous not unrealistic. We aim to be theologically robust, while knowing that theology must be put to use. We equip students to be responsible learners, and to apply their learning in real time.

If you are preparing to church plant or revitalise, find out more about the Expedition programme from Crosslands starting in Autumn 2024.