On the heels of Exponential ’13 in Orlando selling out and drawing 5,300 leaders on site and 40,000 to the live Exponential ’13 Webcast, Exponential has announced plans for an Exponential West 2013 this October. The conference will be hosted by Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., Oct. 7-10, and will focus on discipleship.
For the last several years, Exponential has been asked to bring the annual event held in Orlando each April to the West Coast. However, Exponential leaders have been deliberately slow and cautious to expand, not wanting to lose one of the conference’s unique distinctives — a family reunion-like, highly relational environment fueled by the energy of more than 5,000 entrepreneurial church planters gathered together in one place.
“Overwhelmingly, the feedback we get from different leaders is that there’s not another experience like Exponential where the speakers are so accessible, just hanging out with everyone,” Exponential Director Todd Wilson says. “Where else can you walk up to Rick Warren at a picnic table and have a conversation? We have been very careful not to lose that dynamic. We’re now confident we won’t.”
Wilson points to the intersection of several variables indicating that the time is now right to expand to the West.
“With selling out the Orlando conference two months early combined with the tremendous response to the solid discipleship content on the webcast, we had to come face to face with the fact that we have a demand for more people wanting to come than we can handle.
“So we thought if there was a time we could try piloting something in the West—where we could take content people have a hunger for and instantly have critical mass that allows us to keep that relational dynamic — it was now.”
Wilson draws the parallel to Exponential’s focus on reproduction and multiplication of churches and leaders. “We realize that when we reproduce to another Exponential, we reproduce who we are,” he explains. “And we don’t want to lose those positive things — the family reunion feeling and the energy of 5,000 planters. So we’ve been really careful about adding another conference until we were certain we could multiply with that dynamic. Ultimately, the customer for us is the church planting leader that we want to help accelerate. And we believe there is a large customer base in the West that we should be serving.”
Additionally, Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren, part of the Exponential team and longtime friend of Exponential, graciously offered to host Exponential West at Saddleback—a venue large enough to comfortably accommodate the conference. Warren has been a longtime supporter of Exponential and church planting, speaking and leading Bible studies at the annual conference and spending time throughout the week talking with church planters.
Warren, who planted Saddleback 33 years ago, affirms the need for church planting and the demand for an Exponential West.
“Peter Wagner said it many years ago, but I’ve believed it for 30 years: The most effective way to fulfill the Great Commission is the planting of new churches,” Warren says. “Exponential has met a need in our nation for a gathering place where all the streams of church planting can come together and learn from each other. For years I’ve watched Exponential grow and because I have a heart for church planting, I’ve always been a believer in it.
“We see a tremendous need for an Exponential conference on the West Coast. The timing is right, and I couldn’t be more excited for Saddleback to host Exponential West in October.“
Leadership Network CEO Dave Travis agrees the time is right to expand: “Exponential has picked the right time to support the church planting/reproductive church movement on the West Coast,” Travis says. “This makes access and networking much easier for those that can’t come to Orlando each year. This is a great experience for church planters, reproducing churches and other church leaders to be with the best.”
Wilson adds: “We anticipate there will be a significant number of people who went to Orlando and came back saying, ‘I wish I had brought my spouse, or my staff,” he says. “Plus, we heard from enough planters who wanted to go to Orlando but couldn’t — either because we were sold out or just the costs of traveling across country — that we feel we can reproduce this dynamic.”
Exponential West will feature programming consistent with the recent Orlando conference, offering the DiscipleShift theme based on the five shifts in the new book DiscipleShift by Jim Putman (with Robert Coleman and Bobby Harrington). The October conference will include pre-conference intensives, a wide selection of workshop breakout sessions led by more than 75 speakers, and 10 sessions with more than 25 national leaders.
Already, more than half of the speakers who participated in Orlando have already confirmed their participation for Exponential West 2013. To fill the remaining slots, Exponential plans to inject new voices. An exciting speaker lineup is currently being planned with Rick Warren and New Life Covenant Ministries Senior Pastor Choco De Jesus (recently named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People) already confirmed. The full speaker lineup will be announced in the coming weeks.
Exponential is offering a similar pricing structure to the previous conference’s registration rates. For a limited time, anyone can register for $99 and receive a free registration for their spouse. Registration rates will continue to increase over the next six months.
Exponential West will offer sponsor opportunities as well. For sponsor information, contact Terri Saliba at [email protected].
For more information about Exponential and Exponential West, visit here.
Founded in 2008, Exponential is a growing movement of leaders committed to accelerating the multiplication of healthy, reproducing churches. Providing a national platform and distribution channels for championing church planting, Exponential is one of the premiere distribution channels of church planting resources for hundreds of national influence leaders, such as Rick Warren, Francis Chan, Alan Hirsch, Matt Chandler and Mike Breen. For more information, visit exponential.org.