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7 Reasons the Exponential Conference Stirs Me Up

7 Reasons the Exponential Conference Stirs Me Up

For the past three years now, I’ve had the privilege of attending the Exponential East Conference. Exponential is an event designed to inspire, encourage and equip church leaders who want to lead and plant multiplying churches. I go to represent Intentional Church’s work to grow the impact of local churches and their leaders, and the conference never fails to inspire me. I connect with it deeply. I identify with these leaders because I love the local church, and church planting in particular is connected to my story.

First Church of Christ, was planted in Florence, Kentucky by a pair of two-time, successful church planters: my mom and dad. It all started in the basement of a fire station with a dozen people who had a heart to reach the suburbs of CIncinnati. Despite the occasional alarms sounding and the heavy small of fish post Friday night Fish Frys, the church grew steadily. To this day, First Church of Christ is a thriving ministry with thousands in attendance and a growing legacy of Kingdom impact.

My parents’ second church, Southern Acres Christian Church, began in an elementary school one hundred miles to the south of Florence in Lexington, Kentucky. They were called by the Southland Christian Church to plant a church to reach the growing south side of Lexington. The church grew steadily and eventually located in a permanent facility where it continues to grow and expand its Kingdom impact to this day. My folks transitioned the leadership to a new young leader in 2006 after 34 years of faithful ministry.

As you can see, church planting has a special place in my heart because it is such an impactful part of my personal journey. My greatest memories are growing up in this pioneering home. It’s where I fell in love with the local church and its leaders. My folks, and now my church-planting sister and brother-in-law, are my greatest ministry heroes.

There are many reasons why I am stirred by a church planting conference like Exponential and its connection to the work of Intentional Churches. Here are a few that come to mind:


The magnitude of what my parents accomplished is more impressive to me as time goes by. Church planting wasn’t a well known or supported expansion strategy at the time. It wasn’t very cool or hip either. It was downright hard and extremely risky! My parents were true pioneers; all while birthing children, staying healthy and of sound mind, and leading well. Imagine the courage it took!

Today, Exponential is fueling a movement of courageous church leaders and Intentional Churches hopes to do the same. We pray and work toward clarity, conviction, unity, and courage for each and every church and leader. God can do immeasurably more than we dream when we lead courageously.

2. BIG.

I love the word “big” and all that its meaning entails for the local church. Think about it:  Big dreams. Big vision. Big hearts. Big challenges. Bigger is better in so many ways and Exponential thinks so too. Whether it’s through the preaching that takes place there, seeing thousands of Kingdom entrepreneurs worshipping, or the vision casted by Exponential’s leaders – there’s nothing small about this conference.

Intentional Churches’ BIG dream is to help thousands of churches not only envision what it would look like to double their Kingdom impact in five years or less, but to develop a healthy plan to help make it happen again and again! We are committed to partnering with churches who want to have a BIG impact for His glory.


Church planting is entrepreneurial by nature. In the book of Acts, Christ commands us to GO and GROW. The local church is at it’s best when it’s attempting to expand its reach and increase its impact.

Intentional Churches resonates with the spirit of Exponential in that it wholeheartedly believes that we need more Kingdom entrepreneurs both planting churches and leading existing ones! We love entrepreneurial leaders on the fringes of Kingdom impact.


One of the greatest features of Exponential is the amount of accessibility one gets to speakers, leaders, and influencers. Many of the speakers and teachers attend for the bulk of the conference because it’s so inspirational and downright good. It’s fun to rub shoulders and gain up-close insights.

Intentional Churches is building a team of experienced church leaders to come alongside local churches. We know that it’s imperative to be face-to-face and not remote as we refresh vision and create plans to increase Kingdom impact.  For this reason, we pack a ton of face time and accessibility into our Intentional GrowthPlan engagements.


Exponential is very practical and geared toward church planters. Whether it’s on the main stage or during the workshops you attend, wherever you go you will find a solution to your problem or a ministry idea you can use right away.

Intentional Churches provides practical solutions to the challenges of leading the local church. We aren’t theorists. We are practitioners who will help you find solutions or walk with you to solve the problem. We currently have over 1250 years of church leadership experience on your team who serve as an incredible practical resource to your team.


The world certainly seems less connected these days. In fact, feelings of isolation are ironically on the rise. But at Exponential, one sees the amount of people doing good around them and how they are spiritually impacting the world for Christ. You certainly feel less alone as you stand side-by-side with so many others in the trenches of ministry.

Intentional Churches is committed to building a tribe of churches and leaders who will connect and collaborate on Kingdom challenges. We will also celebrate Kingdom victories. We believe we are better together and must find ways to link arms in a new way in the coming years if we are to truly create Kingdom impacting synergy. We are dedicated to figuring out how to do this better together!


Simply put, Exponential keeps it real and down to earth and that is represented in the diversity that is present. I imagine heaven will look similar. When it comes to the church planting, there are no cookie-cutter solutions or models.

Intentional Churches believes that no two churches are alike and each one needs an organic plan to grow and reach people for Christ. This truth is reinforced in an encouraging way at Exponential. Your vision is unique because God placed your church in a specific location, with unique leaders, to reach a certain people, and with a story that’s all your own. Thus, no two visions of Kingdom impact can be the same!

As you can see,  Exponential not only excites me, it also directly aligns with the heart and soul of Intentional Churches. Church planting is one of the best growth strategies in the Kingdom today. There is an extraordinary learning opportunity in a conference like Exponential and the leaders who attend there. I hope you’ll give a try at some point.

Q: Have you been to Exponential? What was one of your take-aways or learnings from the event?

Bart Rendel

About Bart Rendel

Bart was an executive leader at Crossroads Christian Church in Lexington, KY and Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV for over eighteen years. Bart’s passion for serving churches comes from his upbringing as a pastor’s kids where he learned about the intentionality of reaching and growing people in Christ from his mother and father. His conviction runs deep. Bart and his family remain connected to Central Christian. He is married to Catherine with two children and finds the occasional time to play a round of golf or take in a Kentucky Wildcats game. He has been helping churches and leaders around the country increase their Kingdom Impact since 2004.

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  • […] Wally and Barbara Rendel. (aka Mom and Dad) They live a life of faithful commitment to Jesus and His church. They taught me to love the Lord and follow Him. Their example as church leaders led me to commit my gifts to serving His church. Their example and faithfulness was and is life changing. More about them here. […]

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