Jun 6, 2014
neil

The most effective way to reach your city for Christ

Three 2020 planters share their experiences at the conference

On Tuesday 2020birmingham held its annual conference with over 100 people representing 40 different churches and organisations – thinking, praying and planning to reach our cities for Christ. As part of a workshop for city leaders and catalysts I gave the following introduction to what we had discovered over the past 5 years.

Three gospel principles that compel us to partnership

Gospel partnership is borne out of gospel need – the size and scale of the task in reaching a city for Christ compels gospel churches to work together in planting. c.f. Romans 15:23-33

Gospel partnership builds healthier churches – working across denominations, being generous in giving-away resources (finances,people, training-time) to churches that don’t belong to our own organic networks, all demonstrate a kingdom-mindedness that honours Christ. Such sacrificial service of other individuals, plants and churches creates a culture that in turn builds a healthy local church. c.f. 2 Corinthians 8-9.

Gospel partnership blesses gospel churches – Christ honours those who display the unity for which he too prays and each church is encouraged and blessed by the fruit of working together. c.f. Philippians 4:14-19

So here, in bullet-form, are the first seven of at least 14 reasons why city movements are the best way to reach our cities for Christ.

1. Churches planted with local support have a better chance of succeeding

Better ‘real-time’ support, coaching and mentoring through regular meeting, prayer, etc. with fellow planters working alongside. In 2020 a new planter meets every 2 weeks with fellow planters in the city for the first 2 years.

The likelihood of a church survivability increases by 135 percent when the church planter meets at least monthly with a group of church planting peers. Ed Stetzer.

The 2020 Planters Forum

2. Working alongside other planters in a city gives you a real head-start in contextualisation

The challenges and needs of a particular city/community can be discussed, understood and worked through more closely and with greater understanding with the local knowledge that is available in a city network than that offered by national church-planting movements.

3. A church-planting movement in a city is best equipped to reach out into the neighbouring satellite communities.

A village or town of say 10,000-20,000 is unlikely to be the focus of a national network but often that town is relationally networked to a larger city and can be best reached as an extension of that network. It is an easier ask to persuade a planter and team to go into these communities that border a city than for someone to come from outside the area.

4. Working together enables speedy learning and quick responses

Along with meeting regularly with other planters, seeing what they are doing by visiting enables speedy learning.

5. It complements rather than competes with national denominates or networks

A city movement is not an alternative to being part of a national initiative but a natural complement. National initiatives will be best equipped to provide assessment, theological training, financial support, resources and people from outside of the city.

6. A city network facilitates fund-raising especially for plants that would otherwise go overlooked

  • Being part of a local network can open up new contacts. One particular trust fund has now given to 4 of the 2020 plants who would never have known it existed. The trust fund, familiar with the aims and objectives of 2020 is keen to receive further applications and there is a mutual understanding that exists because of the previous applications.
  • City patrons. Working together we can encourage greater generosity from those who are committed to the city of Birmingham as a whole rather than an individual community or national network/denomination
  • Fund-raising together – 2020 Church Planters Fund is a pot of money available to planters from within the city movement itself. Churches in the city have given generously along with donors and we are in the process of fund-raising from other parts of the UK and wider afield.

7. It facilitates further expressions of gospel partnership as it builds relationships of trust between churches in a city

Working together in one area (church-planting) facilitates the relationships that encourage partnership elsewhere. For us that has included a number of plants working to establish a Christians Against Poverty Centre.

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