The 1990s saw a fresh awareness among catalytic leaders of the need to cast vision beyond single-congregation evangelism or community impact.
This Holy Spirit perspective gave rise to a movement that continues to this day; "cityreaching."
In it's infant stage, cityreaching had a "we will take our cities for God!" mindset. As the movement matured, the "for God" remained but the "taking" was replaced by "serving." Citywide actions-projects-events were often fueled by a prayer-care-share lifestyle mindset that influenced disciple-making models and impacted evangelistic training. City Impact Roundtable and Conference calls brought a diversity of leaders together for prayer and relationships as well as thought leaders and best practices.
Examples of national platforms include: Mission America Coalition, Seek God for the CIty, Movement Day, CIty Gospel Movements, Loving Our Communities for Christ, Christ Together, CIty Advance . . .
Examples of regional/local platforms include: Serve The CIty (Cedar rapids), Together (Rhode Island), Explore God Chicago, Ready Indy, Milwaukee Believes, Love INC (Fresno), El Paso for Jesus, Love Fox Valley (Illinois; Wisconsin) . . .
These initiatives have resulted in a variety of role functions, such as Coordinators, Directors, Coaches, Leader, but seldom has someone devoted their focus and energies toward facilitating.
- Facilitating communication across the Church
- Facilitating connections to build authentic Kingdom relationships
- Facilitating partnerships that result in equipping, expanding or extending ministry
A full-time-focus facilitator has the privilege of lifting any and potentially every congregation and organization in the region. In other words, that facilitator's task is to seed and feed but not lead.
- Appoint or recruit other gifted persons to take the "top" role
- This allows you to serve others, free from the tasks and time of administration
- This allows you to focus on inviting still others into the movement, at their level of interest or their capacity of ministry.
- That keeps you from taking the role of Chief Shepherd of the movement; leave that to the true Cityrecher, our Lord Jesus
As this river of many tributaries continues to flow, city movement champions must carry learned insights from the past as they seek Holy Spirit discernment for the future.
I invite you to consider these five "Cs" as a guide toward catalyzing a movement of movements across a community or city.
- Our first objective must be to make a collegial contact with as many potential ministry partners as possible. Pastors. Ministry CEOs. Community activists. Social services. Neighborhood groups.
- How can I/we serve your vision?
- Help us tell your story
- Goal: to understand what God is doing across the city/region:
- Micro (congregation, team, group)
- Mezzo (mezzanine; organizations, ministries, services)
- Macro (area-wide events and programs)
- ...so that, we can build a data base for communication that
- Introduces leaders to one another
- Informs the Church of the vision/purpose of the wide diversity of ministries and congregations across their city/region
- Invites participation on a
- Micro level (Pastors' Prayer groups)
- Mezzo level (local or affinity clusters)
- Macro level (seasonal events, holiday programs)
- Two or more entities (congregations, organizations, associations) assisting another ministry/agency
- One entity promoting a concert or conference of another church/ministry
- Several entities provide volunteers for an under-resourced ministry program
- Two or more entities participating together in a project or event: Same thing-Same-time. Same place.
- Church Pantries making bulk purchases or sharing a common facility
- Congregations committing to an initiative (for example, Explore God: same curriculum and dates, but no interaction between participating groups
- Two or more entities together developing a plan/program to meet a need
- Entities combine under a common-name-banner to remove graffiti in a neighborhood
- Entity invites the community (individuals and agencies) to brainstorm solutions to a local problem, design a strategy to minimize that need, then participate in the implementation of that strategy
None of this is new to the community impact movement.
What would be "new" is to insert free-ranging facilitators.
No role to be consumed by. No risk to other recognized leaders.
No desire to create a new organization or compete with current initiatives.
A person fueled by a desire to lift-up the work of the Body of Christ, whether micro (a store front church), mezzo (a single-focus ministry that serves the region), or macro (big in scope and size).
Could that be you?
Add this to your prayer-list?