Nehemiah was a great leader who served the city of Jerusalem in about 445 B.C. In a time of great human need and spiritual crisis, he united his people in a strategic work which transformed the wellbeing of their city.
The Nehemiah Network is a relational network of pastors and Christian marketplace leaders uniting the churches in Central Arkansas to live and serve as the body of Christ in our community.
In January 1998, thirty-one pastors, representing diverse backgrounds and denominational traditions, traveled to Ozark Conference Center for a four-day Pastor’s Prayer Summit. While transforming for those who attended, this first Prayer Summit was more than just an event, it was a humble, and yet catalytic, beginning to a movement.
In 1999, the Nehemiah Group formed, and from out of this relational movement more than 100 churches united together for the first ShareFest. During the next 10 years, ShareFest not only visibly demonstrated the love of Christ in Central Arkansas, it inspired similar events in more than 50 U.S. cities and 3 foreign countries.
During that same time period, the Nehemiah Group hosted a prayer summit annually, conducted two major research initiatives on community needs, “The Nehemiah Project” and the “Arkansas Marriage Study”, encouraged numerous church-school partnerships, and was a catalyst in city-wide initiatives including foster care and literacy.
In 2009, the Nehemiah Group joined with an even broader number of churches and community leaders to invite the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association to Central Arkansas for a city-wide festival. An estimated 55,000 people attended CityFest 2009 at the North Little Rock Riverfront. The two-day festival was the culmination of a “Season of Service” that began in July prior to the event. During this time, roughly 8,500 volunteers were involved in over 175 projects for the betterment of the community.
Seeking to build on the momentum created by CityFest 2009, CityFest Leaders consisting of Central Arkansas pastors and business leaders, changed the name and expanded the Nehemiah Group to establish the new Nehemiah Network.