When we were setting New Year’s resolutions in January, who could have imagined we would face a global pandemic, increasing racial and political division, rioting, and violence in the streets of many of our cities. It’s been an unprecedented year. We have had to adjust, pivot, cancel, reschedule, and more. In the midst of fear, anxiety, economic concerns, isolation, and fatigue the need for hope and peace is as great as ever before.
Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, is our true hope, and it’s His body the Church that can tangibly bring that hope to our community. Looking back at 2020, I am thankful for the many ways Central Arkansas churches have brought light in this dark season. I am also thankful for the opportunities God has given CityChurch Network to serve our churches this year:
In United Extraordinary Prayer . . .
- Central Arkansas Pastors and Leaders were encouraged at the 23rd Annual Central Arkansas with Dave Butts, President of Harvest Prayer Ministries, Chairman of the National Prayer Committee, and Chairman of the National Day of Prayer as our special Guest.
- Early in the COVID pandemic, CityChurch Network provided a Coronavirus Prayer Guide to serve as a tool for churches in conjunction with the Governor’s declaration of A Special of Day of Prayer in Arkansas on March 29. It also served as an inspiration for the Arkansas Leadership Prayer Guide developed by members of the Arkansas General Assembly.
- Through Arkansas Prays, a growing number of churches are working together across denominations, ethnicities, generations, and locations to collectively cover Arkansas in 24/7 prayer.
In Seeking the Welfare of our Cities . . .
- In the days of pain, anger, and confusion following the brutal murder of George Floyd, CCN united with other church leaders seeking racial healing and released A Call to Hope-filled Action.
- Along with continuing the Central Arkansas Marriage Initiative to encourage vital families in our churches, CCN launched the Vital Families in Schools Initiative to encourage and empower church/school partnerships that increase student academic achievement by strengthening families.
In Training Leaders . . .
- Pivoting in the midst of COVID from in-person cohorts, CCN’s Antioch Initiative continued to provide church-based, innovative, and competency-based Biblical education via its partnership with BILD International. More than 25 students are currently involved in graduate-level, academically accredited degree programs and hundreds are participating in grassroots biblical training through participating churches.
- Graduation of 10 students from the first Central Arkansas Antioch Initiative Market Place Leaders Program.
More than any single initiative, we give thanks for how God has provided uniquely gifted Leaders at just the right time. Logan Bloom, the Founder and Executive Director of Arkansas For Christ joined our team in March to lead our Prayer Initiatives and Mary Carol Pederson, co-founder of The CALL joined our Team in May to lead the Vital Families in Schools Initiative. Learn about our full Team here.
As we thank God for his provision in 2020, we are looking forward with great anticipation to 2021.
- Imagine a City covered in 24/7 Extraordinary Prayer by a growing number of churches.
- Imagine a church/school partnership at every Central Arkansas school, and as families are strengthened, student achievement is increasing and the achievement gap between students of different ethnic backgrounds is shrinking.
- Imagine the church leading in hope-filled action that is moving toward racial healing and greater unity.
- Imagine hundreds of effectively trained leaders, leading to a multiplying movement of growing churches.
God has provided a clear vision for our city, a proven model for action, and an experienced leadership team, but the greatest unity and impact is only possible if we all work together. Will you join us!