A wise and seasoned sage once said we often overestimate what we can accomplish in a year and we underestimate what God can do in a decade. The timeless insights of those unforgettable words have been repeatedly validated in my experience. This truth is particularly evident today as we witness the expanding nationwide impact of Made to Flourish. From Christ Community’s inception, we have not been about ego-driven personalities or shallow trends. Instead, our mission has always been catalytic: to be a caring family of multiplying disciples influencing our community and world for Jesus Christ. As apprentices of Jesus walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, for God’s glory alone, we are making a profound impact on our communities, our city, and our nation in ways that were unimaginable even a decade ago.
Eight years ago, Made to Flourish was conceived and birthed out of Christ Community as a separate not-for-profit organization carrying forward the leadership and vocational missional essence of Christ Community. Based in Kansas City, Made to Flourish serves on a national scale as a catalyst for pastoral formation and church revitalization. Made to Flourish empowers and equips pastors and churches to more faithfully and effectively prepare congregants for their vocational callings beyond the church walls. Many of our outstanding national staff and board originate from Christ Community, and a significant portion of my time and efforts is devoted to serving this strategic organization.
Let me give a concise update on how God is using Made to Flourish as an extension of our catalytic mission. Currently, there are 8,000 pastors in our national network, representing some 7,800 churches. Furthermore, we have partnered with 35 churches across the nation representing various denominations who have established a pastoral residency akin to Christ Community’s model. Together, as a closely allied national residency network, we are training a new generation of pastors. In 2024, we plan to launch 19 more pastoral residencies. Over the next five years our goal is to establish 100 pastoral residency churches nationwide. Can you imagine what a God-honoring impact that will make? Our prayerful aim is to help shape a new generation of pastors who are holistically flourishing as well as embodying a deep and abiding commitment to equip congregation members for their Monday callings.
We recently introduced a new skill-mapping tool that leverages technology to provide church leadership with deeper insight about how God has called each congregant in their life outside the church walls. This assists local church leadership to better equip and encourage congregants in whole-life discipleship. As a pastor, I longed for a helpful shepherding tool like skill mapping for many years, and now it has become a reality. A growing number of churches are utilizing this helpful tool and the early reports are exceedingly positive. Common Good, our award-winning magazine, is also continuing to grow and foster a robust national conversation. Presently, Common Good has 10,000 subscribers and our goal is to have 35,000 subscribers in the next five years.
Although each one of us may not be directly involved in Made to Flourish, we can all be a vital part of this catalytic mission. First, I invite you to pray regularly for the leadership and ongoing impact of Made to Flourish. Second, I encourage you to go to the Made to Flourish website and subscribe to the Common Good magazine. Becoming a regular reader of it will invite you to join an engaging and robust conversation, while also providing you with the encouragement and equipping for your Monday vocational calling.
I am pleased to announce that Matt Rusten, our executive director, will be stepping into the role of president. Matt’s dedication and integral leadership have shaped our organization’s growth. I am confident that his new role as president will continue to move us forward in pursuit of our mission. Matt will continue leading the senior leadership team, as well as devoting more time to writing and speaking as he represents Made to Flourish. In light of Matt’s transition to president, I will be taking on the role of executive chairman. My intention in this shift is to work closely with our board to provide support, guidance, and continuity as we navigate the exciting path ahead. In addition, I will continue writing and remain engaged in other strategic priorities in the years ahead.
Together as one church family with five campus locations, we are experiencing the uplifting favor of God in numerous ways. Whether you are newer to our church family or have been a part of Christ Community for many years, never has there been a time to be more grateful and energized about the catalytic mission we have been called to faithfully embrace.