Every fall church planters from around the world gather at the Redeemer City to City (CTC) offices for a multi-week training called the International Intensive. While they’re here, Redeemer celebrates CTC Sunday where the churches hear briefly from a few of these church planters and collect a special offering.
The year was 2007. Church planters were asking for help. The requests were coming from around the world. One from Barcelona. Another from London. But there wasn’t enough critical mass in any one city to offer local training. No curriculum existed, and there was simply no easy way to get the training out into the field. So Al Barth, Vice President Global Catalyst, had the idea to bring the global church planters to NYC. CTC would give them key ideas to help equip them to plant and sustain urban churches.
Mark Reynolds, V.P. of Leadership Programs remembers, “We created articles and training sessions on growing as a leader, contextualization and the gospel. Tim Keller’s Center Church wasn’t published until 2012. These concepts existed only in white papers. This was the first time these leaders were exposed to this material.”
The Intensive consists of both off-site learning elements and classroom sessions led by Tim Keller, CTC staff and various New York City church planters. Mark says, “The Intensive is something we’ve continued to prioritize because of the impact it has had in the lives of these church planters — both on a personal level and in the kinds of churches they are planting.”
There were only six participants back in 2007. This year, there were 24:
• Marwan Aboul-Zelof, planting in Beirut, Lebanon
• Giuliano Coccaro, planting in São Paulo, Brazil
• Eduardo Antonia De Fario, planting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
• Lawson and Marella Hannaford, planting in Adelaide, Australia
• Aaron Herrera, planting in Monterrey, Mexico
• Brian and Minah Koela, planting in Cape Town, South Africa
• Hugo Leme, planting in Americana, Brazil
• Warren and Wendy Leung, trainer from Los Angeles, CA*
• Harrison Macharia, already planted in Nairobi, Kenya
• George Markey, trainer from Kiev, Ukraine*
• Enriqué Melendez, trainer from Los Angeles, CA*
• Musa Ntinga, planting in Johannesburg, South Africa
• Emerson Patriota, planting in Londrina, Brazil
• Dennae Pierre, trainer from Phoenix, AZ*
• Luiz Santos, planting in Rome, Italy
• Derrick and Rae Sekamalira, planting in Kampala, Uganda
• Ali Sewell, planting in Haddington, Scotland
• Marek Tyl and Cori Tylova, replanting in Prague, Czech Republic
• Sihle Xulu, replanting in Durban, South Africa
* The four trainers will be using this material to train church planters in their cities through a CTC training program called Incubator.
Musa Ntinga, a participant this year from Soweto, South Africa had this to say about the Intensive training. “You can be a church planter — busy telling people about Christ — and you can easily lose sight of your own spirituality. People see you running around and people assume you are very spiritual — but you can be very dry and dying inside. We can replace God with our work of church planting. God desires you and he wants you to delight in him. We’ve heard about the necessity of prayer and just sitting and spending time with God. That wasn’t my expectation. I thought they would say do x, y, z, but I was taken aback over the focus on my heart. I have enjoyed that. I’m grateful to God.”
CTC staff are always so encouraged by spending time with these leaders and feel a little sad when they leave, but they will be walking shoulder to shoulder with these church planters for years to come. If you were unable to give on CTC Sunday, you can still do so on the Redeemer app or at redeemer.com/ctcoffering.
In addition to the annual intensive in NYC, City to City Asia Pacific has held annual Intensives since 2012, and City to City Latin America will host its first Intensive in 2018.