By Nada Pottinger
Have you ever been part of something that you knew would be educational and eye opening but had no idea how life changing it would be? That was my experience with the recent International Intensive held in NYC. Not only was it an incredible honor and privilege for me to be the project manager for this year’s Intensive, but I was touched to the core by some of the teaching I heard and the new friendships formed with people from across the globe.
The International Intensive is basically City to City’s core church-planting 101 training. But it is so much deeper than just looking at how to start a church plant! It deals with issues of the heart and challenges preconceived notions of church planting. Inevitably strong bonds were formed between the participants from every corner of the world, as they navigated NYC and did life together for two and a half weeks from September 15 to October 2. This year we had 15 participants from as far as Australia, South Africa, Rwanda, Brazil, Portugal, Turkey, Finland, Scotland, USA and the Dominican Republic.
I could write reams about the different topics that were taught during the Intensive, from idols of the heart to mercy and justice. I could fill pages about the session instructors and the cumulative experience they have in church planting, mercy and justice and pastoring. However, I will let the participants, whose tears and heartfelt goodbyes summed it up so beautifully and succinctly at the end, say how the Intensive impacted them.
“The Intensive re-introduced my wife and me to our first love — Jesus himself. Having been in ministry for years, there have only been several clear, pivotal moments where revival and renewal were also coupled with transformation and change. This Intensive was one of those life-altering events. In teaching the good news of Jesus with clarity and beauty, every City to City trainer kept connecting the implications of Jesus to every corner of kingdom ministry and personal life in a city. The result is not more methods or techniques, but rhythms of ministry based on trusting Jesus all over again.” Tim Lien, Los Angeles.
“Now l can confidently say: there is hope for Africa. Yes, Christ is our hope, but this is only true to the world when we plant and help others plant gospel-centered churches. With the Redeemer City to City Intensive training, it is possible. My soul has been renewed through the Intensive. I feel so equipped to equip others to plant gospel-centered churches, especially in Africa.” Andre Ntambwe, South Africa.
“Very Christ-centered experience that took me into a new level of walking with God and what is in the heart of church planting. A little revival experience for sure!” Juhani Ahola, Finland.
I believe I am a different person after the Intensive. Although I have been involved with church planting for a few years, the level of content, expertise, commitment and involvement that we experienced these days was life changing. I will be forever thankful for the opportunity.” Diego Bitencourt, Brazil.
The International Intensive has been held annually in NYC since 2007, in Asia Pacific since 2012 and the first Latin America Intensive was just held in November 2018.