In John, chapter 17, Jesus prayed that his followers would be one as he and the Father are one. He goes as far as to say that the world will not know his love if they cannot see our love for one another. So, Light Up The City has a long-term goal of seeing geographically based church networks in every city in the greater Seattle area. We encourage every church to participate in their local network. To show up. To be known and to know other key leaders. To seek the coming Kingdom of God together.
Does the LUTC network show up to be known and to know other key leaders? Yes. Two years ago we invited leaders from Transform the Bay for Christ (TBC) and the Luis Palau Association (LPA) to launch an informal cohort of west coast city network leaders who could meet annually and sharpen one another toward the encouragement of healthy church networks in our cities. San Francisco, Seattle and Portland have similarities and share cultures that are unique contexts for the gospel.
Last year LUTC and LPA, traveled to San Francisco for our first gathering, and it was very encouraging. Allen Belton says that when we encourage, we add strength. We left the Bay Area with new ideas, new friends, and reignited passion for our networks.
A couple weeks ago, the west coast cohort gathered again, this time in Portland. It was fun to see our west coast friends, and discuss struggles and triumphs in our work. Each of these three networks are incredibly unique and approach their unique regions in different ways.
TBC was launched with heavy leadership from the business domain and shared how they plan to implement surveys that could span the Bay Area to get perspective, are finding success in launching ethnically based networks in the Bay, and how they were rethinking social media tools. (They inspired us to launch a Light up the City Community page on Facebook, where our network friends can post events, ideas, jobs, and celebration. To be added to the group- like our FB page and email us!
Portland has its own approach, functioning as a large network with specific initiatives that tie them together: foster care, refugee care, church/school partnerships and others. They talked about how they were using their platform to connect to city networks all over the country through their recently launched City Gospel Movements page. They are aware of over 300 of these efforts in the US. Portland also shared about a new model of connecting business and faith leaders which was beneficial.
We shared that Seattle continues to have a decentralized model- each local network is its own story with its own leadership. We have watched these groups continue to grow and develop and have encouraged our groups through The Advance event, through the creation of a network covenant, and by connecting them to one another. We shared our four elements of healthy networks, our participation with Leadership Foundations and the value of a strategic prayer strategy for local networks.
We also added a fourth city to the cohort, Vancouver BC. Our friend Flyn Richie joined us from Church for Vancouver and added his journalistic approach of simply telling stories to add strength and shift the narrative of the Body of Christ.
Next year, the cohort will convene in Seattle, we are exited to host and deeply grateful for the chance to build relationship with the greater Body of Christ. We continue to learn alongside all of you, that we are better together, and that our ability to love one another bears deep kingdom fruit.
May Christ's Kingdom come on the West Coast!