Whether you are new to Christ Community or have been a part of our church family for a long time, you may be wondering what Made To Flourish is all about and why it is so important to our mission. Made to Flourish is a catalytic national ministry focused on narrowing the perilous Sunday to Monday gap many pastors and churches have unwittingly embraced. When a pastor or a church fails to equip followers of Christ for their Monday callings the consequences are stark. The worship of God is greatly hindered, spiritual formation is largely stunted, gospel incarnation is painfully shallow, gospel proclamation is muted at best, and love of neighbor is greatly weakened. To be faithful to Jesus’ Kingdom Gospel whole-life-disciple-making mission, God’s new covenant people must be equipped for their everyday lives, a big part of which is their paid and unpaid work. Of course Sunday matters, but so does Monday.
In accomplishing this God-honoring mission of whole-life discipleship, we believe the local church matters a great deal and that pastoral leadership is crucial. When pastors flourish, congregations flourish, and when congregations flourish, communities flourish. The New Testament reminds us that the local church is at the heart of God’s redemptive kingdom work in the world. The mission of Made to Flourish is to empower pastors and their churches to integrate faith, work, and economic wisdom for the flourishing of their communities. Our heartfelt hope and prayerful passion is a renewal of pastoral leadership and whole life disciple-making churches across our nation.
So why is Made To Flourish so important to our mission at Christ Community? Although Made To Flourish is a separate non-profit organization, it is inseparable from our mission. Made to Flourish is our primary national mission. From the very inception of Christ Community, now over thirty years ago, we have prayed for a spiritual awakening in our needy nation. That national and cultural need is even greater today. Through the eyes of bold faith we have asked and continue to ask God to allow our church to play a quiet, catalytic role in renewing the church across our nation. Six years ago, in a partnership with the Kern Family Foundation located in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Christ Community played a key role in birthing Made to Flourish. While the Kern Family Foundation made available the necessary financial resources, as a church family we provided much of the intellectual, cultural, and leadership capital necessary to move Made To Flourish from an entrepreneurial concept to a national network. In these first six years the Lord has given us great favor, and as a church family we are a vital part of a growing whole-life discipleship movement that is multiplying disciples who are influencing our communities, our nation, and our world for Christ.
Let me give you a brief snapshot of the present national footprint of Made to Flourish. If you have not gone to the Made To Flourish website, I would very much encourage you to do so. I would also encourage you to look at our short True and Good video that captures the heart of our Made to Flourish mission.
By missional design and with synergy, I divide my time serving both as president of Made to Flourish and as a senior pastor of Christ Community. Our national Made To Flourish staff team now includes 18 gifted and experienced national team members. We have a network presence in 23 cities with 41 city network pastoral leaders. Presently there are about 4000 pastors in our network. We are training a new generation of pastors through our 24 local church-based pastoral residency programs. We hope to add six more pastoral residencies this year.
In these first six years, Made to Flourish has developed many excellent equipping resources including books, videos, and our award-winning Common Good magazine. We work closely with other like-minded organizations across our country, and we host a yearly Common Good conference which will be online and available Friday, October 1, 2021. I encourage you to sign up and take advantage of this remarkable resource.
Every now and then, I hear people refer to Made to Flourish as Tom’s thing, but let me remind each one of us who are part of the Christ Community family, it is not Tom’s thing, it is our thing. Actually, Made to Flourish is really God’s thing. He brought it into existence, and it is for His glory and praise. What all God has in mind for Made To Flourish I do not know, but I do believe that for such a time as this in our culture and our nation, Made To Flourish is sovereignly positioned to have a growing, positive impact. So please stay informed about what God is doing through Made to Flourish and hold our Made To Flourish board, staff, and mission in your prayers. We have seen God do amazing things so far, and there are sizable challenges and great opportunities in the days, months, and years ahead.