The #ReimagineFORUM @ Discipleship.Network

Equipping Your Reimagine Journey

To LOVE YOUR CITY you need (a) - -

 

  • Linking Catalyst

            who has the primary role to connect missional, unifying, Christ-serving leaders.

 

  • Loving Congregations

            (Love Your Neighbor congregations) that are filled with prayer-care-share lifestyle Christ followers.

            To transform a city, we must begin by loving and understanding it's people, our neighbors by making a  Love Commitment

 

  • Lifestyle Christians

            who are praying in faith, caring with hope, sharing the love of Christ.

 

  • Leadership Core

            of pastors and marketplace people (laity) discerning and coordinating macro / citywide strategies.

            Spiritual unity by strategic collaboration among leaders produces an impact through Leadership Connections

  

  • Learning Community 

            Leaders who are stewarding the collaborative movement as a learning community (unity + humility X diversity = ministry!)

            City movements, networks and congregations need new concepts and new content for the new cultural context: new tools, new coaching models discovered in a Learning Community

 

  • Lifetime Commitment

            this is not a weekend event (Festival), 40 day emphasis (season of serving), or even a year-long theme

 

  • Long-term Coaching

            outside expertise helps you ask the right questions at the right time for the right reasons

 

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From Our Friends @ Christ Together -

We've had an incredibly fruitful month here are at Christ Together and we'd love to share some of the things we're learning...in real time!

Today, that learning will focus on 3 things:

  1. One story of a city who's been under the radar, but getting huge amounts of traction right now
  2. An overview of a tool we've developed for cities to increase their level of traction
  3. Some highlights and learning from the Traction Immersion we held in Austin, TX last month

LEARNING FROM THE FRONT LINES: BOISE

The city of Boise is a place in deep transition. Just in the last year, there's been a population BOOM as people from California and other surrounding states have poured into this northwestern city. But for years, there's been a steady ground game of pastors coming together to collaborate for the good of the city as they seek its' transformation through gospel saturation. And as these two things collide together, something beautiful is emerging.

Here's what we're learning from Boise, as shared by Robert Frazier, one of their city leaders.

Question: One of the things that’s most exciting about what’s happening in Boise is how many leaders, from different churches, are all working together. How did that happen?
  • There are lots of reasons that there is exciting collaboration in Boise, here are two of the most important: First, we built the coalition around an idea and a vision, rather than a personality, an event or a strategy. We have worked to catalyze collaboration through shared ownership of our city, to see the gospel take root in every neighborhood. Second, the vision was built around data. We started with a clear audacious goal to plant 200 churches during a period of rapid expansion in our city and helped leaders understand tangible ways they could participate through multiplication, networks and supporting church planters.
Question: You also have a really strong core team. What advice would you give to other cities looking to cultivate that team-based approach?
  • We didn’t look for strategic leaders to join the team or important voices in the city, we started with our friends, the people we liked, where there was already high trust. Almost all of us have been collaborating in ministry for 20 years. It started as youth ministers doing outreaches on campuses and leading camps together. Now we’re all senior leaders still working together. Our relational trust and care has set a culture of celebration, fun and impact.
Question: You all have been hard at work on some new initiatives in Boise. Give us a quick snapshot of some of the things you’re putting into the water.
  • The City Network is the catalytic, convening network built on multiplication. They have hosted Exponential and Pastors events to change the scoreboard of the city from ‘how many are coming’ to ‘how many are you sending’. This includes 3 main initiatives: church revitalization(transitions, mergers, church health), Missional Culture(helping level 3 churches move to 4&5), and Planting (we want to be the best city in the world to come and plant a church, so we care for our parachute planters in pretty radical ways). As a part of that program we have coaching cohorts we are developing for pastors and potential planters. We are launching a partnership with Asbury Theological Seminary to host an MA program for church planters and leaders to grow our capacity to send in the city. We have partnered together a few networks to lead Christ Together, gospel saturation initiative in the city.
  • We have a strong network of prayer gatherings among church leaders who meet regularly to pray for our valley.
  • And there are a half-dozen churches partnering together to launch a micro-church movement called The Syndicate to see missionaries planted on every street in the metro area.
Question: Obviously the last year has been pretty crazy. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned at city-wide level? (as opposed to a local church level)
  • Covid slowed down some of our plans but knit us together as we leaned on each other through the trials of Covid. We gathered thousands online for prayer, we met in smaller groups, we shared ideas and tech people as we learned new ways of connecting with people. At first it felt like a step back, but as we pressed in we saw relational dividends pay off.
Question: Where do you need to God to show up right now because the vision is too big for what you can accomplish?
  • We have audacious goals to see hundreds of churches planted and 800 micro-churches emerge. Over the last 5 years we planted 40 churches. We are falling behind the pace of growth and not making a dent yet...so to see these things happen, God is going to have to raise up leaders and disciple-makers in miraculous ways. There just aren’t another 160 church planters ready to plant right now. We’re going to have to call them, develop them, train them and fund them in record time. And that is really a function of the reality that our churches haven’t been making disciples and training leaders. We are going to be forced to do this vital work if we want to see our goals move forward.
Question: What’s the most important thing for your city-wide collaborative to focus on in the next year?
  • This year is all about capacity building. We are developing teams and coaching cohorts for a way of launching Disciple Making Movements, missional engagement, and leadership development. We need to train a group of trainers that can increase our capacity as the church in Boise. It feels like slow hard work but it is what will pay off in the end with impact, much more than events and speeches.

***Thanks to Robert and the other leaders of Boise for all the work they are investing as they seek the gospel saturation of their place. I mean...how encouraging is it to read what's happening there?!
 

OVERVIEW OF THE PRIMER TOOL


Last month we introduced a new tool called the City Engagement Pathway. One of the key pieces of that pathway is around activating and training. While this isn't the only way to do it, we've found The Gospel Saturation Primer to be a massive help in assisting city leaders in that part of the pathway.

In this 3 minute video, Todd Milby and Will Plitt give an overview of this tool and why it's so powerful.
Is the Gospel Saturation Primer Tool right for your city? Is the process and timing going to fit? These three minutes will help you figure that out.
 

REVIEW: TRACTION IMMERSION

 

Last month, we had a group of 12 cities come together who have been piloting different elements of the City Engagement Pathway. And most importantly? They've have been gaining traction around it. They came together to share some key learnings, dream, and plan for the future.  (For those of you who spent time lifting up these leaders in your prayers, we are deeply grateful!)

The time was marked by real energy, but we also all sensed how challenging the last year has been. For many of us, it was the first time we'd left our various cities for any kind of ministry work. While I think there was a collective sense that COVID, civil unrest and a brutal political season affected where each of our city collectives were, our team was impressed by the fervor and energy to not just begin planning for the future, but to act on those plans.

Here are a few visual snapshots of that experience...
If your city would like to participate in an event like this in the future, let us know! We are running another Traction Immersion this fall for cities who are leaning into this City Engagement Pathway.

Now, if you’d like to hear more about the Primer or if the City Engagement Pathway fits with where your city is at, just reach out to us! We’d love to get you started and help you think through how God is at work in your city. 

We'll talk soon!

Blessings,
Will and the National Team

Christ Together


PO Box 882
Wheaton, IL 60187

info@christtogether.org

Copyright © 2021 Christ Together, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website, or because you have shown support for Christ Together in the past.

Our mailing address is:
Christ Together
PO Box 882
Wheaton, IL 60187-0882

Across New England ...

Transforming New England with the love of Jesus,
through disciples who do justice and share Jesus.
May 2021
In this Issue:
May Update
Church in Action Podcast
New England Spotlights
Sermon Sampler
Career Opportunities in New England
Upcoming Events
Dear Friends,
Our culture and context is rapidly changing. We see challenges and opportunities all around us
Two key questions I keep hearing are “how can my church thrive in the ever changing landscape of ministry in New England?” and "how can I reach an uninterested community with the gospel?"
“Thriving Congregations” offers free consulting and training, funded by a $1MM Lilly Endowment Grant, for churches to partner in supportive learning communities to position your congregation to reach your unique community with the Gospel, and grow people more like Christ.
This isn’t one of those “do this and that and you’ll grow” things. It’s a multi-year collaboration between Vision New England, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, The Black Ministerial Alliance TenPoint, and The Fellowship of Hispanic Pastors of New Englandproviding experts, consultants, processes, tools and resources at no cost.
You're invited to a one-hour Zoom gathering on June 5 at 11:00 am to learn about the training, consultants and resources we will provide, to help your church thrive and your community to flourish … and how to apply to be part of this exciting initiative. Click here to register.
In Him,
P.S. Vision New England is hiring a new Connection Manager, to plan, host and facilitate all our in-person and virtual gatherings, that enable sharing, learning and collaboration to accelerate evangelism … while fostering unity that is evangelistic. Here’s the job spec if you or someone you know is interested.
The Church in Action Podcast
Making Disciples, Who Do Justice and Share Jesus
Episodes premiere on FB Live and are available on: 
Learn more on our Podcast page and subscribe today!

Real Connections:

Ministries to Strengthen Church and Community Relations

Joy Skjegstad & Heidi Unruh

Endorsement by Phil Miglioratti

This is a book that deserves my #ReimagineCHURCH...hashtag!

Written in the eye of a pandemic storm, Heidi and Joy found themselves asking the questions every church member wanted to ask and every congregational leader knew they needed to ask. "What should the church look like when the crisis has subsided? And how do we get there?” 

Writing out of their personal and practitioner experiences, Joy and Heidi provide us a crash course in rethinking core issues and reshaping structures that will empower congregations to respond to a post-pandemic reality.

The focus on “connections” makes this a text for reimagining disciple-making, a tool for reshaping evangelism training, and a tactical guide for loving our communities for-with-to Christ.

The Table of Contents reads like a syllabus to a course on community impact. Each chapter a file with practical instructions and strategic"lab-like” case studies.  RealConnections. Talk with  Strangers. Everyone Should Have a Friend at Church. Build Relationships with Groups. Connect Across Deep Differences. A Beautiful Day When You Know Your Neighbors. Navigating Change. 

Thank you for this strong declaration of hope. Truly,  "The Church is not closed.” But it will not be open for business -as-usual.It is time to reimagine church as connections.

     To Christ.

          In the congregation.

               To the community. 

Check it out>>>

Phil Miglioratti

The #ReimagineFORUM

Hello Phil,

We hope and pray your summer has been restful! We’re so excited to share about what we have in store for the fall (Instagram Live with City Leaders, E-Team Gathering, and more), but first, here’s what we’ve been up to this summer and a couple of September events our friends are hosting. Let us know: How has your summer has been?

What CGM has been up to!
Worshipping on the Portland Waterfront: Over this past weekend, churches in our city of Portland, Oregon came together for an evening of worship, prayer, and a gospel message hosted by our local gospel movement: TogetherPDX. We celebrated the work of churches partnering with local government to clean up areas of Portland that had been overlooked during the pandemic. The worship band was a mix of eight churches and the speaker was JT Thomas from Civil Righteousness. Watch the Facebook Live of Waterfront Worship here

Three Observations on Evangelism in City Movements: This summer our team hosted two calls to learn how city movements are currently approaching faith sharing efforts in their cities. Ten cities from across the country were represented on these calls. We’ve learned a lot, but these observations stand out: 

  1. Generally speaking, city leaders are more interested in talking about evangelism now than they were five years ago. What’s the cause for this? We’re not 100% certain but the pandemic, increasingly secular society, and the need for the Church to be grounded in its unique identity are some ideas. 

  1. City leaders preferred method for strengthening evangelism in their own city is to hear how other city movements are approaching evangelism.  

  1. Most city leaders’ biggest question is: “How can we be intentional about evangelism within the community service work we’re already doing without swinging back on the pendulum to doing solely evangelism or community service?” 

We’ll be gathering nearly 20 cities this fall for the Evangelism Team Lab. These cities are committed to developing intentional faith sharing efforts in their movement. Learn more here

Kevin playing soccer with Palau family at Black Butte where they gather every summer (top left). Spencer and his girlfriend, Lydia, and Brother in law at a Portland Timbers game (top right). Lizzie hiking with family in Washington at Mt. Rainier (bottom left).  Kaedyn and her husband Collin at Mt. Hermon family camp (bottom right).

CGM Friends Events:
Movement Day Together 2021: Join city leaders across the United States, Canada, and Latin America for a city movement practitioner event on October 22, 2021. City leaders will gather in their respective cities for an in-person event, coupled with a live broadcast from Movement Day NYC hosted by LEAD.NYC. You will enjoy a full “main stage” broadcast with keynotes, panels, and artistic elements, while also having the opportunity to engage on a local level, with guided discussions addressing the stubborn facts and opportunities in your city. Learn more and register here
Make your move at Movement Day Philadelphia: Philadelphia Gospel Movement will host its second Movement Day Philadelphia on September 10. Their focus this year is to empower those who have a heart for discipling children, teens, and young adults to see these generations actively engaged and aligned with God’s call to love cities. Learn more here
Transforming Cities Training with Kevin Palau: Join COSILoveYou and Thrivent Member Network for a virtual training on how the church can be generous to its city. Kevin Palau will be sharing models for citywide outreach that integrate major community service initiatives. Register and learn more here
Did the three observations on evangelism in city movements resonate with you? What observations do you have that we left out? Reply to let us know what you think!

The City Gospel Movements Team: Kevin, Lizzie, Kaedyn, and Spencer

How are U.S. Christians currently thinking about

“making disciples of all nations?”

Much of international missions work adapted or was even put on hold last year due to the pandemic. Yet, even well before then, the overall perception of how to practice missions and global evangelism has been shifting, especially among younger generations. There are plenty of reasons for leaders to be curious about how Christians’ thoughts on the topic of missions are evolving.

Barna has partnered with Mission India to explore ideas about effective and sustainable global missions, beginning with Barna’s Activating Missions CoLab. As a starting point, here’s what Barna’s previous studies have revealed about the U.S. Church’s relationship to sharing faith, locally and globally.

Half of Churchgoers Do Not Know the Great Commission
Data from Barna’s Translating the Great Commission report, created in partnership with Seed Company, show that, as of 2018, only 17 percent of churchgoers had heard of “the Great Commission” and knew what the term meant. The remainder of churchgoers largely had never heard of it (51%), with a quarter (25%) saying that they had heard of it but couldn’t recall the exact meaning.

2018 research also shows that age makes a significant difference in whether churchgoers recognize the Great Commission. More than one-quarter of Elders (29%) and Boomers (26%) said they knew the term, compared to 17 percent of Gen X and one in 10 Millennials (10%). Although not even half of any age group knew the Great Commission well, the youngest adult generation was least likely to recognize it. 

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