Bruno, a church planter from Naples, Italy, was part of a cohort of church planters from 12 cities around the world who participated in City to City’s 8th annual International Intensive training.
As an Italian, and one who likes to eat, I know well the sensation of going to a great restaurant to eat all kinds of great dishes only to leave the restaurant full to the point of exploding.
That is exactly what the Redeemer City to City Church Planting Intensive is. It’s a great restaurant with such great dishes that it will take a couple of years to digest!
I cannot talk about all of the dishes but I some really left a great taste in my mouth and some really changed me.
The first dish that I appreciated was actually the “antipasto,” or appetizer. The Intensive did not start with Content but rather with Discovery of our fellow brothers and sisters. What a change from other educational approaches! To recognize that the people that you are doing the Intensive with are as important as the content you are about to discover was a great plus. To discover other planters’ stories and walk with God teaches us as much as the content itself.
Main Course: The format of class and the content was ministry changing! I came out deciding to change my church’s name, liturgy and approach to ministry. Throughout the classes I came to realize many of the mistakes I was making in my recent church plant and have received the instrument to actually bring the changes needed.
The Wine: This was the best part. Prayer has become once again a main focus of my ministry. It is so easy to fall into the lie that everything depends on your effort that prayer becomes a second activity and not the fulcrum of it. Both Tim Keller’s example and the class’s emphasis have brought that point home to my heart and mind.
Dessert was outstanding: every Friday afternoon we got invited to go to a Happy Hour with all of the CTC staff. It is just beautiful to get to know them, see their passion and know them outside of the class environment.
A word of warning. Both before going and throughout the whole time I experienced incredible challenges to remain focused on what God was teaching me. First finances, then relationships kept trying to distract me, but by God’s grace I made it through.
So, would I recommend this restaurant? You bet. 5 stars, almost as good as an Italian one! I know have to digest lots of great food and I know it will bring great fruit to my life, my family and our ministry ... and to Italy.
Surprise Dish: Besides all of the good dishes we ate, they took us into the kitchen to cook with us! We went to see many different church plants in New York City, walk their neighborhoods and listen to the pastors (all of them were very honest). We debriefed many of the classes and learned to be critical with our own food. We had sessions with Tim Keller where we could ask him anything we wanted! That is cooking together.