The vision behind "The City Network"
July 20, 2018 - Robert Frazier
As I prepared to plant Redemption Hill, I wanted to get to know my city in a deeper way, even though I had grown up in Boise and spent 26 years of my life there. I stayed up to date with news in the city by reading the Idaho Statesmen for the 6 years I was in Boston. I then wanted to look at what was happening under the hood. I started by downloading data from Pew and CityData, I looked at the deeper metrics from the 2010 census and the 2015 update, and was surprised by what I discovered.
I had spent 6 years in the God-less liberal Northeast, and I knew Boise was not the Bible belt, but I thought it was a more religious place than the data belies.
57% of Ada County were religious 'nones'
Only 14% LDS
One of the least religious cities in America. More 'nones' than Boston, San Francisco, Portland or Seattle.
Not only do we have a smaller percentage of 'Christian' people, but there is less engagement with spiritual communities than almost anywhere (Vermont has us beat).
This information changed my thinking about the need and the reason to plant in Boise. When you follow Jesus in community, you get connected with other Jesus followers, and all of a sudden you can find yourself surrounded by them, and not realize that only 7% of people in our city are in gospel churches on a given Sunday.
As I started to do some math around the need in our city, I realized that we need hundreds more communities of Jesus followers who are being good news in our neighborhoods. After sharing this idea with a few of our partner churches, my good friends in ministry, there was a sense that there was only one thing to do. Start praying and pursuing a strategy to grow our kingdom impact as the Jesus people in Boise.
So that is the birth of what we now call The City Network. A group of people committed to planting disciple-making communities across our valley. We think we need to see 200+ churches planted in the next 15 years if there will be an impact on the Valley.
So, a couple of questions for you to consider as a Jesus follower and leader in the Boise Metro Area:
- What strengths/gifts has God given you and your congregation to use for multiplying disciple-making communities?
- How are we developing leaders who can lead new communities in every neighborhood of our cities?
- What is good news to our cities? What sort of cultural values can we tap into to help people discover life with God?
And the last big question:
- Are we willing to make sacrifices, that cost us, to help reach our city?
I think many of our hearts are leaping to say 'yes', and 'how'?
So, what does it look like to be a part of The City Network?
- Fill out this online form (https://www.thecitynetwork.org/join/) and commit to the essential values and practices of being a part of the City Network.
- Take a look at this info sheet (https://www.thecitynetwork.org/info) and talk with your leadership team about budgeting to support City Network and church planting.
- Start identifying and pouring into potential leaders and church planters in our congregations.
- Come to bi-annual City Network gatherings. (Next one is September 12th)
- Call up churches and other pastors and start dreaming out planting churches together that share your ministry ethos.
Looking forward to working together to reach our region with the good news that Jesus is Lord, the work is finished and the battle is won!