The end of March was met with exciting initiatives for BILD partners as we continue to equip and train church leaders and progress the gospel around the world.
Church leaders from the USA CityChurch network and a handful of international partners attended a scaled-back conference that traditionally would have been in November. It was a time of reconnecting and laying the groundwork for the next steps in growing and maturing these partners’ ministries.
Randy Beckett and Michael Vos introduced a church-planting initiative to our North American partners that will accelerate church planting in North America. Randy said the goal is to see individual church plants multiply into strong church clusters, which in turn are a part of a global complex apostolic network that looks like the book of Acts. The teams of leaders present at the conference represented 14 churches in the USA CityChurch network. As they met together, they focused their attention on strengthening local church situations and envisioning ways to work together nationally and globally.
Being able to meet in person allowed these leaders a chance to share challenges they are facing within their ministries, encourage one another, and also share Biblically-founded ideas that strengthen their churches.
The sharing of ideas is important as it creates the potential to help others incorporate those ideas within their ministries and local context. One such idea, from leaders from Family Bible Church in Mendon, Michigan, was of self-enterprising ministers of the gospel, modeled after the apostle Paul’s tent-making business. Mendon leaders presented work they have done to help their leadership and members of their ministry team to develop flexible businesses. By developing a think-tank process, they were able to start businesses that allowed the team to continue doing the works of the ministry locally and participate in the regional expansion of the gospel.
The small group of international leaders who attended were also able to meet with BILD’s senior leaders in an intentional time devoted to helping strategize the next steps for their ministries. Bill Burns led international partners through a new path in BILD’s Equip Learning Management System that is designed to efficiently orient new partners to the ministry philosophy and strategy for implementing BILD’s First Principles Series I, II, and III among top leaders, grassroots leaders, and all believers in their church networks.
As church and network leaders focus on maturing in their understanding of Biblical principles and equipping others within their ministries, the tools and resources BILD has provided continues to develop. Those in attendance were offered a preview of Jeff Reed’s newest work as he continues the Mastering the Scriptures Series. The preview of Jeff’s most current work looks at the Pauline corpus. While still in development, this collection within the series looks at Paul’s early, middle, and later letters and how to teach them.
When Christ’s plan for His Church was revealed to Paul, he wrote letters to his churches showing that through local churches is the way in which the gospel is to progress. This could be seen during the conference, not only at the BILD office, but in the homes of local Ames-Des Moines CityChurch families who hosted leaders. The discussions after hours and sharing meals in homes encompasses the larger picture of God’s kingdom and the global impact the local church can have. The relationships established from local to national to international levels is a connection among families that are one-minded in fulfilling Christ’s mission for His Church.
Bill said he and his wife hosted guests and ended up staying up into the late night talking. Bill felt he and his wife received back just as much as they gave their guests, in socializing and strategizing with their global family, recognizing they are co-workers for the progress of the Gospel.
The individuals and families that prepared and served food and hosted, not only during this conference but previous conferences, have not gone unnoticed by those who attend. Helping during the conference has provided guests an up close view of the hospitality the Apostle Paul writes about in his letters to the churches in the New Testament. Being established in those biblical ideas exhibits the principles we are to model as we live out our new life in Christ together in community and shows a commitment to the work as we partner together for the progress of the gospel.
(Photos by Matt Pool, Min/Max Photography)