Breakout Sessions Announced for Aspen Group’s 2016 Alignment Conference

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It’s official! The full agenda for Aspen’s 2016 Alignment Conference is now set.

As you’ll see, we’ve got a robust line-up of speakers—from multisite pastors and researchers to communicators and strategists—who will explore strategic models for church expansion from all angles.

Senior pastors, administrative leaders, executive pastors, church planters, and anyone who has a vision for reaching more people for Christ will glean invaluable insights from this one-day event.

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Barna Group to Reveal New Research at Aspen’s 2016 Alignment Conference

Barna Group to Reveal New Research at Aspen’s 2016 Alignment Conference

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More than a year ago, Aspen Group, as a founding member of the Cornerstone Knowledge Network (CKN), met with Barna Group to discuss a potential new research project. The conversation centered on where growth is occurring in the church and the role that church plants and multisites are playing in reaching new people for Christ and helping them grow in their faith.

Intrinsic in the rise of church plants and multisites is a need for more gathering places—church facilities—where faith communities can take root and make space for people to explore and grow in their faith. While there’s a lot of great information being published about multisites these days, as a church design/build/furnish company, we were curious about the implications of multiplication on facilities.

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Top 4 Communication Challenges for Multisites

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Recently, Aspen Group and Fishhook collaborated to host a roundtable gathering for a group of Indiana-based churches that have invested in the multisite ministry approach. The conversation focused on some of the challenges related to multisite communications, like naming, branding, online presence and staffing.

Over lunch, these leaders shared their stories—what they have learned so far and what they are tackling next. Their multisite ministry experience ranged anywhere from one to thirteen years. Although their approaches differed, they found common ground in their focus on kingdom work and how to do it well, how to be both open and organized, to be dreamers and doers, to steward their resources well and have a far-reaching impact.
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Is Your Church Ready to Expand?

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“The idea of multisite churches began as a bandaid solution for megachurches that found themselves out of room,” says Jim Tomberlin, founder of MultiSite Solutions.

Now nearly three decades old, the multisite church model has proven it’s not a passing fad. But it’s changed a lot in that time, and its next phase will look nothing like its first.

Today’s multisite church includes hybrid variations of the traditional one-church-in-multiple-locations model, often incorporating planting as part of a church’s multiplication strategy.

These new approaches call for new skill sets and structures to support rapid growth and change. But where do you go for answers to the hard questions that surface in the midst of church expansion? And how do you think strategically about multisite and multiplying churches when so many new models are emerging?

Aspen Group will tackle these and many other strategic and tactical questions about church multiplication at the 2016 Alignment Conference.
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To Build a Generosity Story, Start with Why

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Leaders move fast. Leaders get stuff done. Leaders solve problems and point the way. But leaders also often talk about solutions and moving in a new direction long before others even realize a problem exists.

They start with the “what” and not the “why.”

I personally experienced this phenomenon while repairing a section of my backyard fence. As any father would do in the hopes of effectively leading his family, I told my two oldest sons that they would be helping me with the project. In every aspect of the job—from demolition of the broken fence to setting posts to nailing new fence slats—I found myself explaining the “what” of our process several times. “We need to do this first so that….” “This hole needs to be a few inches bigger in order to….” As a result, very little of our work was inspiring.

I see the same thing play out in the local church.
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Details Matter—In Stories and in Design

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Every story can be told in a variety of ways. For example, let’s compare the following texts:

Version #1:
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn’t have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt.

Version #2:
When he was a kid, my relative hurt his limb. It got better later—even giving him confidence he could play sports again. His arms weren’t identical, with one hand and one finger facing odd ways. But it didn’t matter, as long as he could put a ball in motion.

What do you think? It’s the exact same story told in two different ways. Which one intrigues you? Which one bores you?
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How to Discover the Truth About Your Church

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Recently, my daughter and I had the following exchange after she returned home from school one day:

Me: “How was your day?”
My daughter: “Okay.”
Me: “Did you have fun? Learn anything?”
My daughter: “No.”

After this thrilling dialogue, I thought to myself: Should I just go about my day? Accept her evasive answers and assume she was okay?
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Enhance Your Stories With These Three Technologies

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We all have that one friend. You know, that friend who can pull you into a story and make a trip to the DMV sound like a trip to Disneyland.

Maybe it’s their humor or their wisdom or their deft interpersonal skills, but you hang on their every word. You laugh when they laugh. You cry when they cry. And all the while, you wish your stories could sound half as interesting.

What if we as a church—both locally and collectively—had that same draw to the world around us? What if we could communicate the same magnetism and intrigue in the way we tell a story? After all, we have the privilege of telling the greatest story ever told—the Gospel.
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