Having experienced prejudice and stereotyping among Christians, Pastor Kevin Kelly of Second Baptist Church in Little Rock realized that walls were being built between the body of believers, the church. Kelly warns, “The beginning of racial reconciliation and unity in the community hinges on Christianity- the church.” Along with the division and pain brought on from such segregation and partiality, he saw the destruction being passed onto younger generations in the church, igniting a passion in him to seek the understanding of people that were not like him.
He became involved in the CityChurch Network, a team of pastors and local leaders with one purpose – to unite the churches of Central Arkansas. It was here he met his now good friend, Ray Williams. Williams, an active leader in the CityChurch Network, fueled this desire inside Pastor Kelly, encouraging and seeding sight for unity in the community.
Pastor Kelly envisions that one day the churches in Little Rock would claim and headline themselves first to be the church of Central Arkansas and in smaller letters their church name, an example of their testament of oneness in the city. He anticipates churches of Central Arkansas partnering together and forming a coalition for unity not individuality. “But we are not yet there,” Kelly says. “We are still saying “me” and “I” instead of “us” and “ours”.
He goes on to say that although Christians have not reached the unity in the city that God has called them to, he strongly believes that God has poured an anointing on the city of Little Rock Unity among the body of believers simply allows us to do more, a whole lot more.” A unified community of Believers in Little Rock provides a biblical portrait in the community of what Jesus means when he tells his twelve “…the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these he shall do.” Jesus couldn’t have gathered a more diverse group of disciples but through their different backgrounds, professions, and religions they came together in Christ and miracles took place. Kelly feels that Christians have to step up and demonstrate this pure picture of love in Little Rock and with God miraculous things will happen.
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
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
The prophet Jeremiah writes in Jeremiah 29:7, But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. We are seeking to mobilize the church in strategic areas to seek the welfare of our community. These include seeking the welfare of children, seeking the welfare of families, and seeking the welfare of neighborhoods that could use a helping hand.
The CityChurch Network invites Churches into united actions that seek the welfare of children, families, and communities. Important areas include:
The greatest hope for racial unity is the love, peace and hope of Jesus Christ. Still, progress requires intentionality.
Race Under Grace is just that! A Christ–centered call to action. Through training and support for pastors, leadership teams and congregations, we hope to:
Create new clarity on the truth about race
Help church leaders understand their role
Prepare churches to respond to racial crisis
Move communities toward racial healing
The goal of strengthening families through a church-led movement for healthy marriages comes to life through the Central Arkansas Marriage Initiative.
CAMI works with churches to establish and strengthen marriage ministries Here’s what you can expect this year:
The CityChurch Network Antioch Initiative is a platform for local church-based theological education that is fully integrated into community development, church planting and vocational pursuit. In partnership with the Biblical Institute for Leadership Development (BILD), their North American 30-City Urban Initiative and the internationally accredited Antioch School, the Antioch Initiative seeks the welfare of our city by:
Strengthening church leadership through ordered and intentional Biblical training;
Engaging churches and individuals into self-directed collaborative learning networks;
Drawing resources into urban communities of need;
Organizing world-class and affordable Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate of Ministry degrees;
Synchronizing academic development with local, church-based ministry and community development practicums