Eighty network leaders representing 41 global cities and 26 countries met in NYC from March 7-9. A network is formed when leaders from the same city, region or even country develop relationships and formally decide to work together to plant churches and reach their geographical area with the gospel. NLF is a gathering of these network leaders.
I am humbled and yet confident that God has called me to lead this organization and fantastic team for this strategic time of opportunity and growth.
When Kathy and I moved to New York City to plant Redeemer Presbyterian Church in 1989, we never imagined we’d be a part of a global gospel movement.
We met Caro in the first small group held at Fuente de Redención Church in Mexico City. Caro came with a friend, and she came hurting. Her husband’s unfaithfulness had led to their divorce, and many struggles continued between them as he had taken property that was hers. Caro never expected to experience this kind of family heartache. She was angry with God.
Lawson Pedigo is a lawyer from Dallas. He was introduced to Redeemer City to City (CTC) by a friend who invited him to HUB Weekend in New York City in 2014. While at HUB Weekend, he met Stephen Murray who was planting Hope City in Cape Town, South Africa. As soon as Lawson heard CTC’s mission articulated, he became a faithful and enthusiastic supporter.
City to City Taiwan | City to City India | City to City Korea | Grace Church Planting Network, Japan
Name Withheld, Bangalore | Covenant City Church, Jakarta | Mustard Seed, Kobe | Name Withheld, Kuala Lumpur | [email protected], Kuala Lumpur | Name Withheld, New Delhi | Uiwang Seoksu Presbyterian Church, Seoul | Joshua Tree, Sydney |
13 Churches (Assisted by China Partnership, a partner of City to City Asia Pacific)
Resurrection Church, Brooklyn | Grace Tabernacle Church, Bronx | Crossroads Community Church, Jersey City | Hope Church, Long Island | Church of the Living Hope, Manhattan | Trinity Heights Church, Manhattan | C3 Church, Manhattan | Ethnos Community Church, New Brunswick | CityReach Church, Queens | Hope Church, Queens | The Community of Grace, Queens
On October 28-30 a Gospel in the City event, hosted by local church planters and network leaders, was held in Kiev, Ukraine. Nearly 150 leaders from seventeen of the twenty-four regions of the country were in attendance. The group was highly trans-denominational reflecting the diverse and unique relationships that City to City believes are vital to developing robust and healthy church planting networks. Gathering such a diverse group of leaders is unique for Ukraine. One participant reflected, “I’ve never seen a conference in Ukraine where so many people from different denominations gathered together yet with so much unity around the gospel.”
On October 15 Redeemer City to City welcomed 23 church planters and trainers to this year’s International Intensive in New York City. Of these 23 planters, eight were able to bring their spouses, and two couples brought their children. Church planting couples that attend training together have the clearest vision as they enter ministry. What a delight to see these families together, to get to know their kids, and to watch these couples be encouraged and strengthened by this training.
In May we participated with Redeemer City to City to initiate a network for church planting in Lima. Forty pastors attended the event. As a result there is now a network of eight churches working together to plant churches in the city of Lima. This network, the Lima Initiative, is about the multiplication of dynamic churches for the redemption of lives and the transformation of communities.
I am delighted to announce that Redeemer City to City has announced its new CEO. Steve Shackelford will join CTC as CEO on February 1, 2017.
For the last few years, church planters influenced by Redeemer City to City in African cities have expressed a desire to connect with other planters on the continent who share a vision to see their cities impacted by the gospel, and to multiply churches. In early March, 14 of these planters took a step in that direction when they met in Pretoria, South Africa. The gathering explored the idea of creating a trans-denominational network of indigenous African church planters working in the leading cities of the continent. These planters represented a variety of African cities including Antananarivo, Bukavu, Cape Town, Durban, Kigali, Lagos, Nairobi, and Pretoria.
They concluded there would be great value in such a network and have chosen to call it “City to City Africa,” highlighting the idea of a peer-to-peer network focused on urban gospel ministry. In the early stages, the network will serve churches and leaders in any number of denominations or tight networks seeking to encourage existing planters, connect them to others locally and across the continent attempting similar work, embolden existing churches in their church planting endeavors, and help set up systems to identify, recruit, train and mentor new planters. The network will connect church leaders to both training and funding in order to bring these new churches to fruition. Soon, we hope to establish five to ten regional training centers to deliver contextualized, gospel centered church planting training.
Based on Africa’s overall rates of urbanization and population growth, the continent’s cities are likely to double, or even triple, in the next twenty to thirty years. As big cities are filled to the brim with young people, the Church is ill-prepared to meet the challenges of such exponential growth. Some estimates indicate as much as 75% of the population in African cities will be under the age of twenty by 2035. By 2050 they will represent almost 30% of the globe's youth. The soil is fertile in these cities for evangelism and church planting. It is our dream that the Lord might use City to City Africa, along with other gospel oriented ministries and churches, to populate these cities with churches that will effectively communicate the historic Christian gospel and make the effects of that gospel visible in their communities. Please pray for the Lord's hand on this exciting endeavor.