One of the things we’re considering as a church in 2017 is whether God is leading us to partner with the Acts 29, a global church-planitng network. And as elders, we wanted to give you a brief update and a few resources to be better informed about Acts 29.
We’d like to answer some possible questions for the sake of church members here.
1. Where are we in the process of talking with Acts 29?
We have begun a formal assessment process with Acts 29, which gives them a chance to get to know us better, and us a chance to get to know them better. This process will continue at least through the summer and into the fall (perhaps longer). By the fall, we hope to have more clarity together as a church about whether this seems to be a good fit.
2. What is Acts 29?
The Acts 29 Network is a global network of churches, with doctirnal values that align with ours, who want to be known for:
- planting churches that plant churches
- pursuing holiness and humility
- being a radically diverse and global community
- praying for conversions through evangelism
Acts 29 has a regional chapter here in Chicago that includes several other pastors and churches that we know and appreciate (including several guest preachers we’ve regularly hosted, Jeff Brewer from Hope Fellowship and Robert Livingston from The Source Church). Nationally, the network includes leaders whose resources we’ve recommended for many years, such as Ray Ortlund, Sam Storms, and Matt Chandler.
3. What are the distictive values of Acts 29?
Acts 29 lists 5 distinctives fo churches in the network:
- We are passionate about gospel centrality.
- We enthusiastically embrace the sovereignty of God’s grace in saving sinners.
- We recognize and rest upon the necessity of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit for all of life and ministry.
- We are deeply committed to the fundamental spiritual and moral equality of male and female and to men as responsible servant-leaders in the home and church.
- We embrace a missionary understanding of the local church and its role as the primary means by which God chooses to establish his kingdom on earth.
You can read more about these distinctives at the bottom of this page on the Acts 29 website.
4. Can I listen to some messages that represent Acts 29 vision and values?
If you are interested, you could listen to some of these messages to learn more about Acts 29 values (most of these messages are addressed to pastors or church planters, but they will be beneficial for all of us!):
- Sam Storms: “Why our Doctrinal Distinctives are Important”
- Matt Chandler: “God’s Godness: His Might to Save”
- Leonce Crump: “The Mission”
- Sam Storms: “How a Church Planter Honors His Wife”
5. What about our partnership with the CrossWay Association?
Simple answer: there is no conflict between associating with the CrossWay Association AND Acts 29 — in fact Hope Fellowship (in Lombard) is already affiliated with both organizations.
Over the past few years, our church’s leaders have benefitted from our participation in the Crossway Association of Churches. We continue to thank God for the friendship we experience with the other pastors and churches in our area in that association. We believe that CAC is most helpful for the mutual sharpening of pastors we experience there on a regular basis. But we believe we could use further sharpening and collaboration for the sake of mission.
6. What do we see as the primary benefit of partnering with Acts 29?
We believe that one of the ways our church could benefit more from partnership would be in the area of partnering with other churches for the sake of mission and church-planting, both in our area and to the ends of the earth.
We want to grow in our local outreach as a church. But as we grow, it’s important that we exist for something bigger than ourselves. Ultimately, of course, that “Something bigger than ourselves” needs to be Jesus and the Great Commission. But as we seek to play our part in the Great Commission, we believe that networking for the sake of mission is helpful.
At this point, we’re not certain whether or not partnership with A29 is the right fit for us. But as a part of our commitment to transparency, we want to let you as a member of this church know that we are in the very early phases of asking questions and exploring the possibility of this partnership.
If you have questions about this (or concerns or just excitement), please contact any of the elders, because we would love to hear from you as we’re researching this network. Please join us in praying for this possibility.