"Approach your specific ministry context as a missionary, as an anthropologist and as an economist—studying it from many different angles. This is tough work, but it’s so important. And as your community develops, you update your research. As your understanding increases, you keep working on it.”
Leaders from 11 churches received this instruction from Redeemer City to City’s Senior Director of Training John Thomas as they attended a recent training for the Partnership program. The Partnership program is a two-year program that takes a cohort of established churches from around the U.S., partners them financially with a new church in a global city, and provides customized training from Tim Keller and the CTC team. In the Partnership, the established church gives a certain amount of funding to the church plant over a fixed time, with the goal that the church plant will become self-sustaining and multiplying.
Churches that participate in the CTC Partnership program want to learn how the gospel should impact all they do, whether that’s in reaching their own cities or in how they participate in global missions.
The recent CTC Partnership training was held at the CTC office in NYC, and the format was interactive, affording significant time for collaboration with other churches in the program.
Tim Keller highlighted Romans 15:1-3 and how churches are to be outward, not pleasing themselves. He listed characteristics needed for urban and culturally engaged churches. He then discussed the gospel in connection with difficult cultural topics.
“CTC is helping us more effectively reach people who live in cities and plant churches that do the same,” said Taylor Ince from Sojourn Galleria in Houston, TX.
During this first year of the two-year CTC Partnership program, the focus has been on training, while the second year will focus on strengthening the relationship between the global church plant and its partner church.
But Seven Mile Road in Houston, TX, paired with City Church Lagos (in Nigeria), has already established a deep and meaningful connection with the church and its pastor, Femi Osunnuyi. Jeremiah Morris, pastor of Seven Mile Road, said, “We Skype monthly with Femi. There’s already a deep affection between us. Our church prays for him and his family regularly.”
Another leader at the training, Meridy Roberts from Narrative Church in Bentonville, AR, said, “We did not want to invite people into something that was only for Bentonville. If it’s just your city—it gets too small. What is God doing in another city? What is God doing in a pre-Christian situation? We want to be involved with that as well.”
Sean Gasperetti, from Reach Church in Kirkland, WA, said, “It’s been awesome— absolutely fantastic. The learning isn’t, ‘Here’s what you should do.’ It’s, ‘Here are some ways you could think.’ We’re thinking more about our context—where we are planting, what the needs are and how we are cooperating with what God is doing. I’ve been impacted with the pursuit of understanding our context in light of and in response to the gospel.”
This is the second cohort to participate in the Partnership program. The third will commence in fall 2018, and there are still some spaces available. Let us know if your church is interested in knowing more about this program.