This April, Dr. Mac Pier, founder and CEO of The New York City Leadership Center, was invited to speak to pastors and ministry leaders in Pretoria, South Africa at the Doxa Deo Oos Kampus. Doxa Deo, is a global movement committed to seeing cities changed to places where God reigns. Doxa’s impact in cities is rooted in the efforts of founder and leader, Alan Platt. Under Alan’s leadership, Doxa Deo serves 30,000 people in eleven different campuses as one integrated church in the city. We are thrilled to have Alan as one of our plenary speakers for Movement Day Global Cities (MDGC) 2016!
Mac and Alan share a similar passion in witnessing a movement of Christianity throughout cities. While at Doxa Deo, Mac taught on the theme of “Why Cities Matter,” drawing from the book by the same name. He expounded upon the major themes of cities found in the book of Acts as a template to how God is fulfilling His commitment to Abraham to bless the nations of the earth as outlaid in the book of Genesis. Mac also spoke on how Manhattan has seen a surge in Evangelical Christianity within 25 years. It has grown by 500% during 1989 to 2014. This is another vital reason why MDGC is taking place in New York City. It is the first event of its kind to be held in such an influential place. MDGC is yet another reminder that cities matter to God.
We are so grateful to be able to partner with Alan and Doxa Deo to continue fighting for cities together. One of the campus pastors of Doxa Deo Oos, Jurie Kriel, is currently working with Pretoria and Durban leaders to build a team of 200 South Africans to come to MDGC. Last year, Pretoria hosted the first expression of Movement Day outside of the United States.
We are excited to be a part of all that God is doing through cities.
Dr. Timothy Keller, founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, has mentored young urban church planters and pastors in New York and other cities through Redeemer City to City (RCTC). RCTC has helped launch over 200 churches in 35 global cities.
Dr. Keller has written numerous books and is the New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. As you prepare to join us at Movement Day Global Cities, we recommend your team reading Dr. Keller’s book Center Church. Take a read of the book summary below.
Today, many pastors are struggling to adapt to a post-Christian culture without abandoning orthodox theology. How do we communicate the concepts of grace and substitutionary atonement in our globalized culture and context?
In Center Church, Dr. Timothy Keller offers challenging insights and provocative questions based on over twenty years of ministry in New York City. This book outlines a theological vision for ministry-applying classic doctrines to our time and place-organized around three core commitments:
Each year, Movement Day features speakers who come to educate, inspire, challenge, and encourage city leaders. Learn more about the world-renowned speakers, topic experts and practitioners scheduled to share about global issues and key urban population groups at Movement Day Global Cities 2016.
We recently caught up with Adam Durso, CEO of Faith Breathes LLC, an initiative partnering with churches worldwide to train, strengthen, and empower youth pastors. Adam shared his thoughts on engaging millennials in gospel movement.
What are some practical steps that urbanites can take to create unity amongst millennials in their cities?
In creating unity with millennials it’s important to be aware of all the things that can separate one generation from another. Millennials are interested in the “whys” of the world. Why should we do this initiative? Why should we be a part of this other project? Why does the thing we are doing matter? Millennials are interested in social justice and are community minded; these priorities reflect what the church should be doing and should stand for. To create unity with millennials, it is important to first embrace this demographic before we try to “clean them up” and “change them”.
How can senior leaders empower and catalyze millennials to bring change to their community and become agents of city transformation?
First and foremost, it is important that senior leaders embrace the millennial generation and not attempt to fit them into a mold. The beauty of the millennials is they are different; they think outside the box, and unfortunately, senior leaders continue to try and keep them in a specific mold. This is why, on average, seven out of ten millennials are leaving the church.
You’ve been instrumental in planning an Emerging Leaders Gathering being hosted by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this upcoming May. What are some of your goals and desired outcomes connected to this event?
One of the biggest goals I have for the Emerging Leaders Gathering is to bring millennial leaders alongside traditional government leaders for the purpose of seeing what outcome might emerge from this fellowship. What will faith filled millennial leaders – members of the most missional and social-justice minded generation we’ve seen yet – do if given an opportunity to speak into the tremendous obstacles our government is facing today? I would also like to replicate this experience in other cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, Charlotte and Dallas.
What do you hope to share with leaders at Movement Day Global Cities (MDGC) this fall?
My hope for MDGC this October is to see an iconic, maybe even historic event focused on gospel movements in cities around the world. Hosting over 1,000 millennial leaders from all different cultures, paradigms, and ethnicities, who have a core common passion to see the gospel proclaimed in our generation will be monumental to stemming the tide of millennials leaving the church in record numbers. MDGC 2016 presents an opportunity to change the conversation and thus change the trajectory of our generation by the gospel of Jesus Christ!
How can millennials connect with you right now to learn more about your work?
Go to faithbreathes.org and journey with me. The name of my website, Faith Breathes, is meant to reflect the experience of inhaling the presence and Word of God and exhaling the good works that glorify our Father in heaven. The tagline of this project is, “if it’s alive, it must be breathing”.
On March 17 thirty leaders met in Phoenix to build a team to bring Movement Day to Phoenix and the state of Arizona. The meetings were organized by Gary Kinnaman who serves as the Scripture Catalyst for American Bible Society in Phoenix. We met at Grand Canyon University, one of the largest Christian universities in the world with 75,000 students. We also had a downtown Phoenix meeting.
Phoenix has a core group emerging that will bring up to 100 leaders to Movement Day Global Cities. The Phoenix City Movement has one of the most mature networks of leaders in the world including dozens of the city’s largest churches. Each Spring, they collaborate on “Hope Fest,” which impacts thousands of people across the city through acts of service. Hope Fest is led by City Serve, founded by the Luis Palau Association.
The church/school partnership model also is gaining great momentum, with dozens of churches involved. At Arizona State University under Ben Sanders’ leadership, they are hosting Ravi Zacharias in one of the largest outreaches in the history of ASU, the nations largest university.
The expectation is that a Movement Day Phoenix will emerge in the next 18-24 months. Will you join the movement too?
Kevin Palau is president of the Luis Palau Association, a Portland, Oregon based ministry that has shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with 1 billion people around the world through Kevin’s father, evangelist Luis Palau. Kevin joined the Palau Association in 1985 and began directing the day-to-day operation of the ministry in the late 1990’s. Under his leadership, LPA has produced some of the largest Christian events ever staged, including festivals that have drawn crowds from South Florida to South America of up to 1 million people. Kevin is a valued partner with Movement Day. We recommend his book Unlikely. Take a read of the book summary below.
In 2007, Kevin Palau and a few dozen pastors approached Portland’s mayor and posed the question: How can we, as the Body of Christ, best serve the city? Officials identified five initial areas of need—hunger, homelessness, healthcare, the environment, and public schools. And so began “CityServe,” a partnership between the city and a band of churches seeking to live out the gospel message. Since then, the CityServe model has spread like wildfire, inspiring communities across the country to take up causes in their own cities.
Unlikely not only tells the story of the inception of CityServe, but also challenges readers to evaluate their understanding of the gospel. Today’s church finds itself torn between social justice, and direct proclamation. Unlikely proposes a ‘both/and’ scenario, showing how the gospel can truly penetrate a region—through word and deed. Unlikely is proof that when differences can be put aside for a worthy cause, real change can be attained, and unlikely beauty is born.
Each year, Movement Day features speakers who come to inspire, challenge, and encourage conference participants. Learn more about the world-renowned speakers, topic experts and practitioners scheduled to share about global issues and key urban population groups at Movement Day Global Cities 2016.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we spoke with Letitia Ann Shelton, founder & CEO of City Women, an organization committed to making the city a better place for girls and women in Toowoomba, Australia.
What are some practical steps women can take to build unity?
For us here in the city of Toowoomba we have realized that the problems in our city are too big for any one church to deal with. We need each other. We can’t be in competition as churches. There is a battle going on for lives and it takes a city-wide church to win a city-wide battle. We have engaged in ministry together as women from so many different churches (City Women has some 250 volunteers from 40 different churches in our city). We have built great friendships based on an outward focus of helping the broken women and girls in our city, and great unity has been built through that.
How can we empower women to bring change to their community and become agents of city transformation?
This process is quite simple. I find the need in our city and then I look for the Christian women who have the passion, calling, and gifts that are required to meet that need. For example, when the first brothel opened in our city, I knew we needed a team who would go regularly and build friendship in a spirit of love with the prostitutes. I knew of a Christian woman in our city who has a passion to love prostitutes due to her own journey earlier in life. So I met with this woman and asked if she would lead a team into the brothel every two weeks. She has been leading this team for the past 6 months. I believe that all the resources needed to transform our communities can be found right within our communities. The resources are in the people. And as we release and support them, they come alive and experience God doing great things through them.
What do you hope to share with the leaders at MDGC this fall?
My passion is to see leaders in their city realize that the problems in our communities are our responsibility. We can’t sit back and expect the government to fix the issues. The city is the responsibility of the church. Although we need to work with our governments and other organizations in our cities, I believe that God has a solution to every problem right within our city; and it’s up to His people to seek Him for those solutions. We must not be afraid of stepping out in courage and taking risks.
London is one of the most influential cities in the world. We are encouraged to see local leaders taking initiative and planning Movement Day London (MDL) October 6-7, 2017. Last week Roger Sutton, leader of the GATHER movement and one of the key organizers of Movement Day London 2017 shared more about bringing the vision of MDL to fruition.
What’s the gospel landscape like in London?
London, like other places in the UK, has suffered from significant church decline over the last 100 years. Secularism and consumerism have undermined people’s faith perspective significantly, with only 8% of people now attending church regularly. However, in recent years we have started to see some new growth, with decline being halted and new churches being planted. We are thankful to the influx of Christian migrants from Africa and other countries that have increased the faith, prayer and boldness levels in our city. We have some very large churches now with national and international ministry focuses; several have played a very impactful role in helping build a sense of unity for transformation movements within our city.
Why is London significant, globally? Gospel-wise?
Recent studies by Forbes have placed London as the most influential city in the world, citing it as a global leader in financial services, culture, academia, travel hub, multinational HQ”s, media, advertising, music and fashion. London’s gospel significance lies in its struggle with rampant secularism and the challenge of doing gospel in a very difficult environment. The case studies being done on missions coming out of the UK and London will have significant influence in the western mission context.
Tell us more about who is involved in building a Movement Day London and the broader London gospel movement?
We are seeking to build a very wide collaboration of partners across the UK to deliver the Movement Day London event. For it to be a success it must belong to many and not just a few ministries. It must also come out of the very successful Gospel movements that are in about 120 cities and towns across the UK.
What was the outcome of your December meeting with local and global leaders?
The December meetings were one of several conversations we are having with all the partners connected to Movement Day. At the moment everyone is very supportive of the event and the vision behind it. The aim for Movement Day London is to impact the whole country and inspire cities in Europe. This event is not just an “event” but a 3-year project to accelerate the work of gospel movements with some hopeful key outcomes, including beginning new movements and starting significant networks in diverse spheres.
What is the significance of hosting Movement Day London at Methodist Central Hall Westminster?
This was very much an answer to prayer and the result of years of strong relationships in London that has given way to a strategic and coordinated approach to mission. The building is in such a strategic place in the city overlooking Parliament, near all the main government buildings and next to Westminster Abbey.
What is needed for Movement Day London to be successful?
At the moment we need to continue to build a wide partnership, to raise the necessary finances and to inspire Christians in various spheres to participate.
How can the broader Movement Day community connect with London’s story of gospel movement?
If gospel movements can take root in the UK, especially London, then they can grow in every place in the world. London is the bridge to Europe and increasingly to the Far East.
During March and April our team will travel to 12 U.S. cities to share with leaders how we see God’s hand moving and where we see leaders changing cities through gospel movements.
On March 4th, seventy leaders met at American Bible Society’s new office space in Philadelphia, PA to envision the possibility of a significant cohort of Philadelphia leaders participating in Movement Day Global Cities (MDGC). The American Bible Society has been a committed partner of Movement Day for many years. Philadelphia is one of the great college cities in the world with more than twenty universities. Former Mayor, Dr. Wilson Goode, Jr., a recent faculty member at Movement Day, challenged the leaders in Philadelphia to design a Movement Day expression locally, and to come see what is happening in New York City in October.
The next stop was Charlotte, N.C. On March 8th, twenty-five leaders gathered to consider joining MDGC in October. Bishop Claude Alexander, senior pastor of The Park Church, and Pastor Rob Kelly, executive director of For Charlotte, hosted the meeting. An equal number of African American and Anglo leadership attended. Bishop Alexander spoke about the urgent need for Charlotte’s faith leaders to come together to address the great deficits of the city. He said that Charlotte ranks 50th of 50 cities in the area of “social capital” – existing relationships between diverse people of shared values and behaviors, which enable and encourage mutually advantageous cooperation. (Bishop Alexander is a plenary speaker for MDGC and has spoken extensively on the theme of racial reconciliation. He has also served as past president of the Hampton University Ministers Conference, one of the largest clergy bodies in the world.)
Back at home in NYC on March 10th, Dr. Mac Pier (founder & CEO of The New York City Leadership Center) was interviewed at the Trinity Broadcasting Network studio by Pastor Dimas Salaberrios (co-pastor of Infinity Bible Church, and president of Concerts of Prayer New York). The interview focused on the global interest for MDGC with 3,000 leaders expected to come from dozens of global cities. Pastor Salaberrios spoke to the substantial leadership that is being coalesced around Movement Day in cities. Mac shared what is happening in diverse cities like London (England), Port au Prince (Haiti), Columbus (Ohio), Phoenix (AZ), New York, and Charlotte (NC). Viewers were challenged to consider involvement in their own cities and to contribute to the movement of the gospel.
In the weeks leading up to Harvest America, INITIATIVE had the opportunity to be partnered with the crusade in Dallas. We shared relationships, held pastors meetings, and prayed for God to use March 6th to be a catalyst for revival. The impact that it had goes beyond numbers, though they DO have stunning metrics. Churches came together to invite/ bring people, serve them during the event, and then commit to follow up post event. People know the Lord because of the willingness for churches to work together, for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
Anyone that is interested in MDGC would naturally gravitate towards Harvest America. If you’re passionate about mobilizing people in your city for the gospel, this works in conjunction with that mission. We must be unified in our ministry to reach the lost for Jesus Christ. (John 17:3)
We saw thousands upon thousands of people dedicate their lives to the Lord in one day with one message by coming together as one Church for Jesus. This shows us that we don’t share the gospel explicitly enough, and we don’t come together as a unified Church enough.
We were completely stunned at worshipful atmosphere. It was not about one band, person, or organization. AT&T Stadium is huge, but we have now seen people worship God, together, in one of the largest arenas in the United States. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people eager to hear the name of Jesus preached, prayed, and sung. Our voices were not lost in the enormity of the stadium, but amplified by it. As a Church representing Christ, we have to do this more.