One of the three Strategic Initiatives of CityChurch Network is Trained Leaders. We believe strong churches are essential for healthy communities and strong leaders are essential for strong churches. Providing proven, church-based, non-formal theological training for leaders. CityChurch Network connects churches with a church-based, sustainable, and scalable approach to training their leaders. Trained leaders help equip and empower others and create healthy, reproducing churches with believers focused on living out Christ’s example and carrying out the Church’s mission.
But what exactly is the Church’s mission, and how do leaders carry it out? For answers let’s see what God’s Word has to say and then look at one example of believers within our network who are equipping and empowering others to carry out the Church’s mission.
EVERYONE A DISCIPLE-MAKER
After his resurrection and before he returned to the Father, Jesus told his disciples:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
In these three verses we find the Church’s mission clearly stated: to make disciples as Jesus did. Jesus accomplished all the Father sent him to do and passed on his mission to his followers. That mission has been passed on to us as believers today and it’s the mission at the heart of The Way Church Network and its family of microchurches.
FOLLOWING THE WAY
The Way Church Network is a church-planting movement that follows the Way of Christ and his Apostles. This church-planting network is united by a shared vision to see microchurches (small, simple and unique expressions of Jesus’ church) that are reproducing disciples and training leaders to carry out the Great Commission. For this network of committed followers of Christ the way forward is back. They believe that by following the model of ministry given by Jesus and the early church we can see a multiplying movement of healthy, reproducing churches in Central Arkansas, North America and to the ends of the earth.
Mark Carter leads The Way Church Network and his passion for church-planting and disciple-making is undeniable. “When God called me and others to begin a new work starting microchurches I knew at the heart of it we had to figure out the challenge of making disciples of Jesus.” Mark and his team saw what Jesus and his followers did in the Gospels and in Acts and believed there was a way to model that disciple-making lifestyle in our time.
A STRATEGY FOR DISCIPLE-MAKING
Mark got connected to CityChurch Network when he was invited to attend a leadership cohort that was going through First Principles, a series of Bible study guides developed by BILD International that are strategically designed to help leaders equip and empower others in the core principles of the faith. The goal of First Principles is more than just knowledge transfer. First Principles helps believers understand and apply the truth of God’s Word so they can live out their identity in Christ, live in community with other believers and influence those around them for Christ and his kingdom.
Mark could not have been more encouraged by his discussions in that cohort. He had found a strategy for establishing believers in the core principles of the faith so they could be more effective in making disciples. Mark recalled trying to implement this new strategy when he told us, “Like any new beginning there were challenges for our team but we persevered through learning new skills like the Consistent Study Process, the Art of Socratic Discussion and Learning to Think Biblically.”
Today Mark and his team are still committed to this strategy and regularly see how God uses it to reproduce more and more disciples for his kingdom and glory. Whether in their microchurch network or countless families, communities and workplaces, more people are hearing the good news of Jesus and learning what it means to follow him as a disciple – and as a disciple-maker.
HELPING THE WHOLE CHURCH GROW
In Ephesians 4:16 Paul reminds believers that Christ “makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
We are thankful for the exceptional work of The Way Church Network and for all the churches in our city that are establishing believers in the fundamentals of the faith and working toward a genuine unity that displays the love of Christ. They’re helping the whole Church grow.