IGNITE! Calhoun County
CHURCHES PRAYING, SERVING, AND CELEBRATING TOGETHER
Steps to Formation:
How Do We Create a Lasting Movement?
The most important thing we can do is pray for God to unite His Body in our community. We will make prayer one of the foundational strategies for churches working together on an ongoing basis.
It is critically important that our churches identify with and grasp the importance of: a) being externally focused by serving in our community, b) developing partnerships with other churches, ministries, and organizations. Ignite is based on churches serving and blessing the community together, which includes defining emphasis areas and/or partners in the community, raising up lay leadership, and determining a plan to mobilize the church.
INTENTIONAL RELATIONSHIP BUILDING:
To be successful at developing partnerships between churches, it is of primary importance to begin building relationships among staff and lay leadership between churches. We plan to develop a monthly pastor’s gathering that will facilitate friendships and future ministry relationships.
As our core group of churches begins to develop the foundation of Ignite, we will begin to personally invite other churches to join us in the community transformation movement. From our small beginnings we hope to one day see the majority of our local church community working together for the Kingdom and the Glory of God!
DEFINE THE PROJECT:
Ignite has been developed using “Unite!” of Atlanta, Georgia as a guide and model. We will use Matthew 5:16 as the basis for our churches to develop a strategy to pray, serve, and celebrate together for the purpose of community transformation.
In addition to identifying an overall leader, or Director, to give leadership to Ignite, an overall leadership team made up of representatives from the local churches will be formed. This team should be diverse ethnically, culturally, and denominationally.
STATEMENT OF FAITH:
Relationships are easiest to establish and develop when, at first, we focus on our similarities instead of our differences. We do, however, need to agree on the basic essentials of the Christian faith. A statement of faith helps to determine what beliefs are most important and non-negotiable. Ignite will adopt the Lausanne Covenant, which is a broadly evangelical document balancing word and deed ministry.
One of the greatest challenges of bridging the gaps between churches is developing an effective means of clear communications. Possibilities include postcards, letters, brochures, websites, e-mails, etc. All of these forms of communication are good, but the very best ways to communicate are through personal phone calls or visits. Additionally, our monthly luncheon provides a great forum for communicating, building relationships, and inviting other churches to join the common effort. The main purpose of a luncheon would be to cast vision, build relationships, plan, and pray for the community and each other. A luncheon can be held at a local restaurant or one of our churches.
LONG TERM ONGOING PARTNERSHIP:
From the very start, Ignite will have to decide that if we are going to see transformation occur within our community, our efforts will need to be ongoing, and not just coming together to serve during a big event.
Long Term Partnering includes:
Having the Leadership Team develop vision and mission statements.
Having the Leadership Team meet monthly to plan, continue along the overall vision and chart progress.
Developing a central means of distributing communications.
Host monthly Ignite luncheons that are for casting vision, networking, and sharing about needs in the community.
Host gatherings of “community outreach” lay leaders from the churches to talk about how to serve together in the community.
KEY INGREDIENTS (CORE VALUES)
PRAYER – Prayer is the foundation and the key for Ignite!
RELATIONSHIPS – Relationships are what drive the Ignite movement. It will begin with a focus on several big events that launch the effort, but it will continue through relationships between people from different churches that are sustaining and fueling the movement!
DIVERSITY – The Leadership Team and the churches that are going to be part of Ignite should be a mix of African American, Hispanic, and Anglo and should represent a mixture of denominations.
LONG TERM MINDSET – It is essential to think long term if we want to see community transformation take place. This is challenging because our culture is so driven by events, but it will take significant time for “the church” in the broad sense to develop an external focus and to really work together in mass. It is easy to want to “give up” because the process is slow.
ON GOING PARTNERS – It is much easier to bring churches together for large events than it is to have churches working together on a regular basis. We will try to focus on connecting people from various churches to partner together on a regular basis to meet holistic needs in the community – word and deed. We will hopefully begin seeing fruit, but it is hard work and takes initiative. Most churches are consumed with ministry that is within the four walls of the church. However, as churches work together they realize that their ministry can be more effective because of the combined gifts and talents.
FOCUS ON COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION – If we focus on the differences in our theology, then Ignite will fall apart. We must focus on a passion for Christ and a desire to see Him transform our community and our city. We will come to realize that we must work together if we want to see kingdom change in our community – no one church can change the community. As part of Ignite, churches can be part of something much bigger than themselves.
MULTI SECTOR COLLABORATION – Ignite will need to focus on getting the nonprofit sector to work together (churches and nonprofit organizations) We want to also connect with the private sector (business) and public sector (education and local government) to transform our communities. This will hopefully be reflected in leadership going forward by teams of key pastors, Christian business leaders, and public sector leaders working together.
LOCALIZED PARTNERING – The most effective partnering takes place between churches that are close together geographically. We want to facilitate relationship building between these churches. Transformation of an entire city or county begins with transformation in the smaller areas that make up that city or county.
MULTIPLICATION – Ignite will launch with however many churches are willing to work together in these ways. We hope to cast vision and come alongside churches in other areas of the city and county so that the whole of Calhoun County is impacted. We also want to help other churches in counties in Northeast Alabama that have a similar passion for community transformation.