Kingdom Cooperation commissioning ceremony at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church

Cooperating for God’s Kingdom

In John 17:20-23, Jesus prayed that His disciples would be one as He and the Father are one. The mission of CityChurch Network is to help churches work together to show the kind of unity Jesus prayed for. One way to think of this is to imagine that every church in our city has a flashlight. The light that one church shines is good and wonderful as it brings the light of Christ into their community. But what if every church in our city worked together to let their light shine collectively? Wouldn’t that be an amazing light show for the non-believing world to see?

Catching a Glimpse

Sometimes, God gives us a glimpse of what is possible when we work together to let our light shine. One Sunday a few weeks ago, I saw such a glimpse when I walked onto the stage at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church with key leaders from South City Church, The Way Church Network, and Impact Inner City. What I felt that day wasn’t nervousness. It was pure excitement.

As I stood with leaders representing four churches in our Kingdom Cooperation project, I wasn’t nervous. On the contrary, I felt pure excitement. These churches saw the need to train their people in the essentials of the faith and offer something more than just another class. They wanted their training to equip them to live on mission as disciple-makers in everyday life, whether in the home, marketplace, grocery store, or gym. These leaders wanted that commissioning event at Geyer Springs to honor their hard work and give glory to God that these leaders were truly ready for ministry.

My face beamed with joy as I thought how much God had done through these churches. I took the microphone and addressed the congregation. “Today, we are commissioning three ‘mission-ready’ couples who have completed in-depth studies of Acts and the first-century church, a paradigm-shifting training that teaches how to facilitate great conversations, and a system for equipping someone in the first principles of the faith.”

“We are honored to be part of this process. Well done to the churches and those being commissioned! As we look to the future, these churches are committed to collectively training as we prepare to be mission-ready.”

From Conversation to Cooperation

How did this all come about? Through many conversations with each of these churches last year, I heard about these churches’ collective needs and understood that a larger conversation was necessary. After six months of meetings and planning, these churches agreed to launch a pilot group in the fall. With each step forward, we prayed for God to be in this. And he was! His hands were all over this process. Throughout it, I saw God align the hearts of these humble leaders. In fact, there was so much unity and agreement that I can’t recall one instance when we disagreed over something. 

Here’s how Neal Scroggins, the pastor at Impact Church, remembered the experience. “The initial conversations about bringing multiple churches together to focus on one goal and assisting others on their journey to becoming mission-ready seemed insurmountable. However, after getting involved, pulling the trigger, and going down the road, this journey has been one of the sweetest I’ve had in my thirty years in ministry!”

Commissioning of leaders for Kingdom Cooperation at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church

From Heaven to Earth

This Kingdom Cooperation matters because it is a visual representation of the kingdom of God in our city. It brings heaven to earth through ordinary people like you and me learning how to make a real and lasting difference. For Jack and Kaitlyn, it was the simple step of opening their home more and being intentional in the workplace. For Chad and Marci, it was sacrificing time to invest in relationships with those who don’t know the Lord.

Adam Miller, the mission pastor at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church, had this to say regarding Kingdom Cooperation: “In a culture where divisiveness is rampant, it was incredibly awe-inspiring to witness churches who don’t look anything alike join together in discipling, equipping, and commissioning together. This is so rare, but I pray we see more of it. What God started through Kingdom Cooperation is exactly what central Arkansas needs to expand the kingdom into broken and unengaged areas.” 

These churches could have trained their people without cooperating with other churches. But they took the time and invested the energy and effort to work together because God’s kingdom is bigger than any one church. It is about us all working together as one unified Church.

Co-Laborers in God’s Kingdom Mission

With three couples already launched, I look forward to even more commissioning this May. Imagine what it would look like if more churches in our city worked together like this. Imagine the impact of having more trained and equipped disciple-makers in churches, workplaces, and neighborhoods throughout our great city. Imagine everyday ordinary leaders stepping forward and playing a role in God’s kingdom mission. Imagine how much brighter the light of Christ would shine in our communities if what we imagine was a reality in our city!

So much is possible when we work together. We aren’t competitors. We are co-laborers in God’s kingdom mission. When our churches unite, it brings God glory and shows a watching world that together we can build a flourishing community.

Lauren Linz — Trained Leaders Initiative, CityChurch Network

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