What Can Non-Pastors Do with #nextchurch2015?

By Rocky Supinger

Thanks to Rocky Supinger for allowing us to cross-post his thoughts on the upcoming National Gathering. You can view the original post at his blog YoRocko!

NEXT Church is next week!

I’ve enjoyed blogging about past NEXT Church gatherings, for example herehere, and here.

This week I’m sharing four questions I’m bringing with me to my favorite annual gathering of Presbyterians [full disclosure: I helped plan this one].

Here’s my first question:

And now my second question:

Will this gathering equip non-pastors to lead in the church?

There will be significant leadership at this event from educators, non-profit executives, and entrepreneurs. NEXT has always lifted up the importance of Ruling Elder leadership, ever since the first gathering in Indianapolis, when the late Cynthia Bolbach–herself a Ruling Elder and General Assembly Moderator–pointed out the overwhelming majority of Teaching Elders (pastors) in attendance.

Are we getting closer?

George Srour is a Ruling Elder from Indianapolis who will describe the organization he’s built that is constructing school all over Africa.

Anita Ford is an elementary school principal who will help explain how her school partnered with a church to create a children’s music program. Charles Kerchner,an academic who specializes in public education, will also be part of that presentation. Charles is one of five Ruling Elders coming from the congregation I serve.

Bill Habicht is a pastor, but he calls himself a “common good and social media conspirator,” and he spends a lot of time working with non-pastors to form things like art collectives and coffee shops.

It certainly feels like a opportunity more attuned to the particular leadership gifts of those for whom ministry is not their job, so I’m eager to see what all the non-pastors will do with it. How many do you know who are coming?


Rocky Srocky supinger (472x640)upinger is associate pastor of Claremont Presbyterian Church in Claremont, CA and co-director of this year’s NEXT Church National Gathering. Connect with him at his website, YoRocko!.

2 replies
  1. Randy Smith
    Randy Smith says:

    I am a 1,001 leader in my church as well as Presbytery in Richmond. I would like to add that I have been very impressed with the progressive topics being addressed by NextChurch. It would appear that the target audience is Teaching Elders. There is a growing number of Ruling Elders engaged in the 1,001 NWC, and because there is not yet an Annual Conference, there is no forum I can attend which offers an opportunity to mix with fellow 1,001 pioneers and hear from leaders in the field as well as 1,001 staff. Because NextChurch is organized to support creative and entrepreneurial approaches to recreating “church” as well as annual & regional seminars, I request that your board consider offering a conference track in 2016 relating to 1,001 NWC’s, as well as Ruling Elders.

    Thanks, and keep up the fine efforts.
    Randy Smith, Ruling Elder
    First Presbyterian Church, Richmond, VA

    • Jessica Tate
      Jessica Tate says:

      We’re hoping to target beyond teaching elders! I hope you can join us in Chicago — and if you do, please come to the lunch for lay leaders on monday! Blessings on your ministry. — Jessica

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