#009 = A SENSE OF WHERE YOU ARE:

Evaluating progress in city reaching movements

(The first in a series of articles on city-reaching movements.)

By Rev. Glenn A. Barth, National Facilitator for City/Community Ministries

Five rows of chairs arranged in a large circle filled the fellowship hall at First Baptist Church in Modesto, CA. Shortly, the room filled with nearly 150 pastors and roughly 100 visiting pastors and leaders from around the nation. Several of the pastors led out in prayer and song during a half-hour time together.

Reconciliation

Rev. Ed Silvoso was there that day in late February on the final day of Harvest Evangelism’s City Reachers’ School. Together with local pastors, Ed shared the need for reconciliation and led this gathering through a time of penitence for past sin into the initiation of a process of reconciliation and healing between men and women, Blacks and Whites, Hispanics and Anglos, Native American and those who have dispossessed them.

In order for the church to experience the unity in love and faith called for by our Lord Jesus Christ, no one doubts that prayerful repentance and reconciliation is an important starting point.

One Body

Two years before, Promise Keepers and others had lifted the Church of Modesto up as an example of the power of unity in a citywide church movement. When men from many different churches from that city came to the 1996 PK Conference in Fresno with T-shirts, which read, "The Church of Modesto," leaders from Promise Keepers began to share the clear message resounding forth from this city.

The Foundation of Prayer

The unity experienced in Modesto was birthed in the prayer movement and took another step forward in February with the City Reachers’ School by initiating a further reconciliation process and mobilizing the church for prayer evangelism. Thousands of families dedicated their homes and took to the streets on Wednesday night, February 26th to pray blessings upon their neighbors and enter into a process which they hope will lead many into a saving relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

The prayer movement experienced in many cities through Concerts of Prayer, International Renewal Movement’s Prayer Summits, and other ministries has laid a firm foundation for city reaching efforts across our land. In the midst of prayer, the Lord seems to be reminding leaders of the church that God is in the business of restoring relationships. Several cities, independent of one another, have actually named their movements The Restoration Fellowship. This relational foundation is built upon the prayer foundation. Prayer radically changes the environment in which we minister as God changes us and changes the spiritual environment, in which we live and minister. No doubt, God is doing a significant work in our time and it is based upon being in tune spiritually with the heart of God.

In this article, we have looked briefly at the prayer foundation as the first stage in a city reaching movement. We have seen that the power of prayer changes the spiritual environment in which we minister and it changes those who minister in that environment. Through prayer, hostile and indifferent parties are reconciled; the church experiences healing and unity and is prepared to enter into the harvest field with the life-changing and world-transforming message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Prayer is also the first step in Celebrate Jesus 2000, Mission America’s short term evangelism initiative aimed at having a long-term impact on the lives of people in every city in the United States.

In the next few issues of the MA Monthly, I’ll be sharing three additional stages of City Reaching movements where the transformational goal is nothing less than seeking a living answer to the Lord’s Prayer: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

These stages are:

1.         Corporate Prayer - (which we have discussed) the joining together

of church leaders and, at times, congregations for the purpose of unified worship, confession, intercession, waiting, thanksgiving, and bringing petitions before the living God. Prayer initiates the city reaching process and is ever present throughout any unified effort of any substance in each stage.

2.         Exploration* -- the process of assessing the needs, the relational

base, the existing sense of common purpose, and the willingness of leaders of the church to partner with one another to achieve Biblical transformational goals.

3.         Formation* -- the process of reaching consensus among church

leaders concerning leadership, vision, and goals for an expanding partnership between churches in a city or community for a sustainable whole church movement.

4.         Operation* -- establishing effective organizational patterns which

pursue the agreed upon vision, achieve agreed upon goals, provide for evaluation, accountability, leadership succession, and a process for sharpening and reshaping the vision at regular intervals.

Next month, we’ll look at the Exploration Stage.

*These terms in relation to this process were first shared with us by John Rogers of Interdev as he taught about the effective development of strategic evangelism partnerships. Recently, Jack Dennison and Mike Steele of Dawn Ministries have agreed to their use as categories which correspond to stages in the DAWN strategy in U.S. Cities.

Phil Miglioratti

National PastorsÕ Prayer Network

715 East Golf Road, Suite 205 ¥ Schaumburg, IL 60173

847/884-0007 ¥ 847/884-0928 (fax) ¥ phil@nppn.org (e-mail) http://www.missionamerica.org/prayernetwork.html

NPPN FORUM—Your comments, questions, observations are welcomed if they add to our understanding, are constructive rather than critical or judgmental -Do not return nor edit the text; just the title, followed by your comments -Include your name and ministry role - Email your comments to: phil@nppn.org

#009 = A SENSE OF WHERE YOU ARE:

Evaluating progress in city reaching movements

By Rev. Glenn A. Barth, National Facilitator for City/Community Ministries

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