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Church Life, Leadership, and Planting Foundational Network

Detailed information about the 2022 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2021 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2022 Forum's Networks. 


2021 European Church Life, Leadership, and Planting Foundational Network

Key values and practices stand out in the scriptures surrounding New Testament local church life, church leadership, and church planting. What was local church life like? How did local church leadership function? How was it that churches seemed able to fruitfully work together on mission in new areas beyond their initial localities?  How can we apply these lessons in our churches today?

Mike Betts and the team working with him at Relational Mission will lead this Network exploring how we can make a diligent attempt in our generation at the implementation of New Testament values in local church life, church leadership, and church planting. This Network will aim to explore values, principles, and practices found in various biblical passages for those involved in senior leadership within a local church and for those leading or seeking to build networks of churches.  Following collective times looking at the scriptures, the themes raised will be further discussed and explored through group work, Q&A, case studies, etc. 

Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.



Mike Betts leads Relational Mission, a network of churches which is part of the global Newfrontiers family.  He is the author of From the Inside Out, Relational Mission: A Way of Life, and a soon to be published book on corporate prayer.  Mike is passionate about the church enjoying her inheritance in Christ, involving church planting, gospel expansion, corporate prayer, and seeing the next generation grow into all that God has for them.  Mike is married to Sue, and they live in Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK.  He is part of the eldership team at Lowestoft Community Church, which he, Sue, and a number of others planted over 30 years ago.  At that time Mike and Sue sought help and advice from Terry Virgo, who had begun to serve emerging churches.  Terry’s work and relationships with churches became the start of Newfrontiers.  In 2011, Terry handed over responsibility for Newfrontiers to a number of his spiritual sons, and Mike began to lead the network that is now Relational Mission.  Relational Mission works predominantly in the UK and mainland Europe but with growing connections across the world. Its network includes some 70 churches of which 30 are church plant and pioneering situations.



Anna Goodman has a heart for the nations, having previously lived in Honduras, Nepal, Belgium and Barbados. She holds degrees in neuroscience from the Universities of St. Andrews (BSc) and Cambridge (Ph.D.) and also completed five years of postdoctoral research. Currently a stay-at-home mother and author, Anna enjoys serving alongside her husband, who is an elder in their local church.


Maurice Nightingale is a member of the Relational Mission core team with responsibilities that include the supervision of early-stage church planting on the mainland of Europe, in particular training and coaching pioneer leaders and developing strategies for both initiating and supporting church plants. Originally from London, and following a short career as a military engineering officer, he has since been involved for over 30 years in two main areas of service: planting churches and reviving failing churches. Maurice completed a master’s degree studying philosophies of church movement succession, exploring New Testament church leadership principles and practices. Maurice is married to Rachel, with four adult children.



Day 1

Heavenly Calling not a Career Path

Mike Betts

Psalm 45 is a song written in anticipation of a marriage.  It is written from hearts stirred by love.  Embarking on ministry that is focused primarily on tasks, goals, structures, techniques, or programs will lead us inevitably into fruitlessness.  The image of marriage and love from the heart is a frequent one in scripture helping us grasp something of the relationship between Christ and His church.  We begin this network by exploring and assessing what the key heart motivations within leadership of the local church are.  The goal of this session is to help participants refresh their hearts, reminding themselves of why they do what they do.


Strong Foundations: The Word and the Spirit

Mike Betts and Anna Goodman

Do Word and Spirit go together in local church life? What does a church, both mature in the word of God and in stewarding the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit, look like?  Often churches emphasise one to the exclusion of the other.  Is there a better way? Is it possible to combine robust exegesis of scripture with extraordinary manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s presence? Might the church in the coming days across Europe experience maturity and fruitfulness in both?

Day 2

Strong Foundations: Relational Leadership Relational Church

Maurice Nightingale

This passage of scripture in Acts 20:13-37, where Paul says goodbye to the elders of the Ephesian church, is breathtaking in its emotional intensity.  These are not colleagues moving onto another assignment; these are dear friends on mission together.  Parting touched their hearts.  How can we build such a relational culture in local church leadership teams and across whole networks of churches?  We also gain a stimulating insight in this passage concerning true spiritual authority and how it works within a relational framework rather than through title, office, or structure.


Strong Foundations: The Prayers of Many

Mike Betts

In 2 Corinthians 1:11 we read “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”  Paul in his writings often urges the need for prayer in order that his mission will be be fruitful.  He simply cannot conceive that doing what he is attempting will be fruitful at all without large scale, ongoing “prayers of many.”  The Church in the global South and East can teach the church in the western world much about gospel advance.  One obvious stand-out example is the priority placed on corporate prayer by churches in non-western contexts.  In this session, Mike and the team will explore the why and the how corporate prayer in the local church can once again become the driver for gospel fruitfulness it should be.  It is the contention of this session that Europe needs a movement of prayer in order to ignite a movement of gospel advance. The one cannot happen without the other.

Day 3

Strong Foundations: Romans 15 – Blueprint for Local Church Life

Mike Betts

Romans 15 gives an extraordinary overview and insight into the mission, practices, principles, and priorities of Paul, his team, and the local churches working with him.  In this session, we will begin to draw up a list of what they did, how they did it, and what made them so fruitful.  We will develop some of these themes more fully in later sessions.  The goal in this session is to grasp in broad terms what we can learn from their example and apply it to 21st century local church life.


Be Fruitful and Multiply: Principles of Multiplication
Maurice Nightingale
Church history shows the many strategies adopted by church movement pioneers as they look to transition from the first generation of leadership to the next. Some appoint a leadership successor or hand leadership over to a team convened for the purpose, some form a new denomination, while some simply keep going without any strategic consideration for the future. In 2011 Terry Virgo, who had pioneered and led the Newfrontiers movement to that point, commissioned those that he recognised as his spiritual sons to begin to form their own networks of churches. He effectively multiplied the one network led by him, to multiple networks of churches led by men now recognised as network leaders in their own right. These networks were to be autonomous, yet somehow remain collaborative and interdependent. Such radical intentional decentralisation is very bold and some might consider perilous to the future of the movement. It is an uncommon strategy and this session explores whether multiplying autonomous network leaders can be considered an effective church movement succession strategy.

Day 4

Be Fruitful and Multiply: Raising Spiritual Sons and Daughters

Mike Betts

Perhaps the greatest need facing the church in Europe today is the need for more leaders. Quality leaders emerge rather than arrive. Training in a classroom context can be a significant component in the development of a leader. However, it is not enough on its own; something more relational is required. Can we learn from New Testament models of ministry development? Can we shape a culture where the multiplication of ministry occurs naturally?


Be Fruitful and Multiply: Planting Churches

Maurice Nightingale

Jesus instructed his disciples to “Go and make disciples.” The scope he gave them in their remit was the whole world; every people group, every place, through all “the age,” until Christ should return.  Their instinctive response to this command was not only to share the gospel through words, works, and wonders but to plant local churches in every place as part of the response to the command of Christ. Planting churches was to them not a secondary or afterthought but an integral part of reaching the world with the gospel.  The fundamental role of church planting in fulfilling the great commission remains today.  Many models and methods exist.  Some are fruitful; some are not.  In this session we will explore what makes for a healthy church planting environment.  What vision, values, vocabulary, and vehicles can help church planting succeed across modern secular Europe today?

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