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NEW: Leader Prayer Groups

The CityChurch Network of Arkansas is excited about expanding our traditional Third Thursday Prayer Luncheons into monthly gatherings of pastors and leaders. Here is a brief overview from Logan Bloom – Prayer Leader at the CityChurch Network of Arkansas:

John 17:22-23 – The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Leader Prayer Groups – Overview

   ~Logan Bloom – CityChurch Network Prayer Leader

For the last two decades the CityChurch Network of Arkansas, formerly the Nehemiah Network, has existed to unite the church so that the world may know Jesus. We derive this mission from the High Priestly Prayer and from the example of the First Century Church. This is the way that Jesus instructed his disciples and the model that enabled the gospel to spread like wildfire as churches cared for each other and sought the welfare of their cities.

The urgency of this vision is even more critical now than when we began. Our churches can be examples of unity to withstand the divisiveness that is eroding America. Among our increasingly busy schedules, I believe that this vision is worth prioritizing. We must value each other in the same way that Jesus instructed his disciples. God has a storyline for Arkansas, and the task has come to us to unite under His cause.

New for this year the CityChurch Network is seeking to mobilize 100 pastors and ministry leaders into localized Leader Prayer Groups that meet monthly across Central Arkansas. Rather than try to gather everyone to one place at one time, we believe we can include more pastors by facilitating smaller Leader Prayer Groups at a place and time convenient for each group.

The task is simple: commit to gather with 3-4 other pastors and ministry leaders of other churches to pray for each other and for the city. We are also asking each group member to commit to bring ten of their church members to two One Voice regional gatherings per year. The CityChurch Network will provide a helpful monthly prayer guide featuring regional ministry highlights and prayer topics, and we will organize special occasional luncheons to bring our groups together.

If you are interested in helping coordinate a Leader Prayer Group in your area, the responsibility is very light. Please contact lbloom@citychurchar.org to begin. If you are interested in joining a Leader Prayer Group, please complete this connection form or reach out to any of our CityChurch Network leadership team and we will help you locate a group.

2018 Prayer Summit Reflection

Reflection – 2018 Arkansas Prayer Summit

~Keith Lape – Pastor – River City Church

Having been a Prayer Summit participant for about 18 years, I have come to anticipate this experience as one of the highlights of my year. During this time, my association with the CityChurch Network in general, and the Prayer Summit in particular, has profoundly influenced my approach to prayer, ministry, and life. Largely influenced by this framework, I have woven a variety of prayer practices into the fabric of my life and ministry that have set me on a much healthier, spiritually vital, Christ-dependent, and empowered trajectory.

This year‘s edition of the event has not disappointed. I love the variety of Christian faith traditions represented in this group, particularly because of the unity that we experience based upon our common faith in the person of Jesus. During our time together, earthly walls of race, heritage, culture, class, and age are being broken down, making way for the ministry of reconciliation to be unleashed

A central conviction that we share is that prayer and the Word are essential for any authentic Kingdom advancement. Speaking of the “Kingdom,” this emerged as a significant recurring theme throughout the Summit. It originally surfaced during our first evening together, as we walked through the Lord’s Prayer.

This year, instead of having an outside facilitator, we were served by several of our local men, who shared this role. The Lord used all of them beautifully in our time of scripture fed, spirit led, worship based prayer.

In addition to these rich times in prayer, that made three hours pass in a heartbeat, we shared wonderful fellowship over meals and during break times. As the old proverbial song goes, “make new friends, and keep the old; one is silver, and the other gold.“ The wisdom herein was experienced bountifully this year as always. As an older adult, I forged a friendship with a young man who inspired me with his deep faith, zeal for God’s glory, humble service, teachable spirit, and his consistently encouraging attitude.

One final thing that is noteworthy about this year’s Summit, is that we met at brand new place that, despite some flooding, boasted gorgeous scenery and cozy accommodations. I’m already eagerly looking forward to the next Summit, and I’m hoping then to make even more new friends

Bill Elliff – On United Prayer

Why we Must UNITE in Prayer ~ Bill Elliff – The Summit Church…

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14)

Ask anyone who knows you well and they will easily be able to tell about your ways. “Well, he always does (this).” “If you approach him this way, it will be better because …” There are certain things about how you function—your operating systems!

Just as you have your ways, God has his. And they are easily recognizable. Earlier believers often spoke of the “means of grace.” These are the things He has set in motion for us to utilize that would accomplish His desired ends and give His children what they need for life and godliness. The means by which we access the grace of God. The Word of God, preaching, worship, communion, etc. are all in this category. These are beautifully catalogued for us in the closing verses of Acts, Chapter 2.

We don’t invent these, we cooperate with God in humility, using His means. And, if we do, He will graciously respond, giving us, and those with us, more than we can think or imagine.

THE FOUNDATIONAL MEANS…..
… of God’s grace is prayer. We often view prayer as a side-room, but it is the foundation. We have no real relationship with God unless we pray. (How would a marriage be described if husband and wife never talked with each other, communicated needs, hurts, desires and daily business?)

Our life begins with prayer (“Whoever CALLS on the name of the Lord will be saved”) and is developed and sustained by prayer.

If Christ is the Head of the church, how can we possibly say that we are a church if we do not let Him speak to us and spend large amounts of time communing with Him?

THE EARLY CHURCH…..
… understood this. In Acts 1:14 you find them doing exactly what Christ told them to do and what would bring about all the desired results they longed for. They were learning, just as they had seen for three years as they walked with Jesus, that the primary means of moving forward in God was to commune with the Father. And, notice each phrase:
these all” (no one was absent, for this was the highest priority)
“with one mind” (prayer led them to perfect unity, for in prayer, you are humbled before God)
“were continually” (there was no thought of anything else—it was their habitual practice)
“devoting themselves” (to be devoted means to “be strong towards” and they were, Individually, making the choice to pray together)
“to prayer” (the primary, foundational means of getting God’s work one)

OUR PRAYER SUMMIT…..
… has been a humble, 25-year attempt to do the same. We have sought to come together, continually, with one mind to pray. Each year that this happens, amazing results occur. There is always an increase in unity, connection, and instruction and direction from God about our city. And spiritual momentum occurs.

The sad reality is that many don’t view this moment as foundational. But those of us who have attended have experienced it and believe.

What would happen if every pastor in the city joined together, for two days every year, in prayer?

Before you brush aside the idea, read the rest of Acts, Chapter 1 and 2 and see the explosion of God’s grace when His leaders “all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer.”

There is more at stake than any of us realize. United prayer is uniquely irresistible to God, and Central Arkansas needs the spiritual awakening that could occur when God’s leaders pray together!

Bill Elliff is the founder and Senior Teaching Pastor of The Summit Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas. His passion is to see both genuine revival and methodological renewal in the church—both new wine and new wineskins. He is a frequent conference speaker, writer, and consultant to churches drawing from his 47+ years of pastoring and revival ministry. Author of 11 books, Bill is also the Pastor/Church Director for OneCry! A Nationwide Call for Spiritual Awakening.

Making a difference in LR

First Principles – “Making a Difference in Little Rock” ~ Dee Brown…..While at a Bible study in our home with friends and neighbors in our community, Gary was new to the group and sat there quietly taking in the discussion.  I wondered what Gary thought.  He was hearing us describe our previous weeks lesson on the Gospel and this week’s initial discussion on Baptism and the obedience of following Jesus in the walk with Him; a first act of obedience that leads a Christ follower to a life of obedience. This was Gary’s first exposure to First Principles of establishing someone in their faith.

After our meeting was over I asked Gary what he thought and he responded, “Wow, as each person shared, I picked up on several different backgrounds and church denominations, but this study was so focused on the Bible, and kept pulling us back to the Scripture, that is just cut right through all of that.

I’ve watched as the First Principles series takes believers through a process of exploring the Gospel and its implications for our lives, understanding the church as God’s vehicle to accomplish His mission and how that mission calls us to be a ‘family of families’ that lets our good works and openness bring people to Him.  Ultimately it explores our heart motivations so that we are aligned with His heart and mission in all aspects of our lives.  The First Principles is transformational, and the process allows us to identify leaders who can lead others in the same transformation.  This is multiplication at work in our church!                                                                                ~Dave Kella

Those are the kinds of stories I have heard over my journey of the past three years into discipleship with Arkansas Antioch Initiative of the Nehemiah Network; a network of churches who are giving leadership to pastors as well as lay leaders who want to leverage making disciples for thousands of people.

This discipleship curriculum is centered around the Socratic method. The Socratic Method is a way of community based learning in questions. These Socratic discussions focus on a facilitator engaging a group in discussion not lecturing from the front. Socratic discussions over Scripture hundreds of scholarly articles, and writing articles that apply to any cultural setting at any time lead us to evaluate what we believe in light of what is normative in Scripture. The First Principles study engages the group around scripture, conversational learning, and our writing moves beyond simply fill in the blank studies to help us reshape our lives.

I have never been a part of anything like this; Biblical community as it should be, with simple, practical steps that lead to reshaping our lives to follow Jesus.       ~ Evan Kenyon

Because of my successful engagement with the First Principles study, I began to explore the leadership cohorts. These as well utilize the socratic method and confirmed the excellence of the product. We have seen this process work with our Espanol campus and many other contexts. You can see an example in the quote below:

I have seen Jesus Christ transform many lives as I have trained leaders in over five (5) countries using First Principles.  This is a huge success for the Kingdom.            ~Daniel Bran

The process really works.  Spending this much time together around the Scripture and the discussions with multiple church leaders really affects change in our lives. I am excited because I have seen so many instances where people are responding to this strategy.

Another key differentiator in this process is for everyone in the church, all people, from new to the faith all the way to full time ministers of the Gospel.  Yes, the leadership development system of the Antioch Initiative can span that large of an experience group.  It is important for leadership development to be happening at these different levels of influence. Lay people must be involved at a higher level of commitment that we may have originally thought if we want to move the needle and make a real difference in our city.

My approach to discipleship has been very focused on small groups of men.  The biblical approach to spiritual family and community is profound.  I tried to look up references in Scripture to household and family and I couldn’t believe how saturated scripture is with that concept.  Establishing churches within a household paradigm marries church, discipleship, leadership development and missions.  Learning and experiencing this has been refreshing, exciting and encouraging.    ~ Michael Kitchens

Establishing churches within a household paradigm marries church, discipleship, leadership development and missions.  Learning and experiencing this has been refreshing, exciting and encouraging

Kevin Kelly, Senior Pastor of Second Baptist Church Little Rock just finished a pilot of First Principles at his church that was another success story.  Eight-five people signed up and seventy-nine finished the course.  They are now looking at how to integrate First Principles of establishing people in their faith into their church.

I dream of a time that is just beginning here in Little Rock where there is a grass roots movement of discipleship, that is biblical and church-centered. A movement in and around Little Rock that mobilizes the laity across denominations and cultures.  One that encourages people to start new small groups and uses First Principles to establish people in their faith and allow people to see their potential in Gods kingdom.

I hope to see more groups like this that are multi-church where we are learning biblically-based and church-centered approach that strengthens our churches and builds unity of a city-wide movement for Jesus.  May God continue to bless this movement for His Kingdom and grant us wisdom in the days ahead.

Dee Brown is a lay elder at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, AR and participant in the Arkansas Antioch Initiative Leadership Cohort.

Darrell Adcock – GLS is MORE

GLS more than a Summit ~  Darrell Adcock  South City Church……..I’ll never forget sitting in the lakeside auditorium with 2,463 others at Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago for the very first Leadership Summit.  The presence of the Holy Spirit was heavy on me.  I could tell they had been praying fervently over a long season to “call us up” as leaders.  As Hybels famously said,  “The local church is the hope of the world, and its future rests primarily in the hands of its leaders.”

It seemed only natural to use this conference as a chance to connect with my teenage kids and let them taste of what mature leadership looks like and ways to grow in their service through the local church, learning from leaders in business, politics, thought-leaders, and nonprofits.

“When Dad called me one day to go to this leadership conference, I thought, “I’ll go, spend time with my dad” I never thought that this might change the way I live my life. The first year it opened my eyes to the world of leadership and that I could actually be good at it. What a true blessing it was to sit next to the man I looked up to most in leadership, in life in the church, and most of all as a teacher. The Global Leadership Summit has been the two days a year that I look forward to most. From hearing from the top leaders to the car rides on the way back talking about what stuck out most. The Summit has shaped me to truly love the local church and made me see leadership in a whole new way. Six years down and twenty to go!” – McKenna Adcock

Over the past 25 years of the GLS, I bet I’ve only missed a couple.  God profoundly uses this conference to re-calibrate my leadership, renew my calling, and expand my heart for the local church, the world, and the needs of people.  Plus, I will never surrender the opportunity to connect and grow with my, now adult, kids.

Don’t worry, Kenna, I’ve already got our tickets for next year!

McKenna Adcock uses her leadership for Starbucks and in serving at South City Church in Little Rock. Darrell Adcock serves as Executive Pastor and Music Director at South City Church.  He and Tracy are celebrating 30 years of marriage and their four kids.  Together they help foster and adoptive families through Empowered to Connect Parent Training