Charlotte, North Carolina, has been rightly called the “City of Churches.” I was surprised to learn that there are more churches in Charlotte, as least per capita, than in any other city in the U.S. However, despite the religious influence in this great Southern city, young adults in their 20′s & 30′s are mostly absent from local faith communities. This is not just true in Charlotte but in all of our large American cities, where the majority of our people, and especially the overwhelming majority of young adults, live today.
Because of these demographics, and thus this obvious mission field, several local churches coming together as ONE can reach young adults in their 20′s and 30′s more effectively than one particular church, including large megachurches. I have seen this for myself by sharing in the ministry of PhoenixONE over the last two years. Now I get to share in this collaborative effort through the mission of CharlotteONE. This Saturday (October 5) I will begin my publish ministry in Charlotte with our ACT3 Unity Factor Forum. You can register for this event at www.act3network.com.
Next Tuesday (October 8), I will speak at the CharlotteONE gathering which takes place downtown. CharlotteONE historically preceded PhoenixONE and is led by my dear friend, David Hickman. David and I have grown very close and our futures appear to be linked in heart and mind. We think alike on so much and we love and respect one another in a unique and Christ-centered way.
In the spring of 2006, CharlotteONE began as a four-week trial among a handful of local churches in order to reach this neglected demographic for Christ and then connect them to local faith communities. When the doors opened for the first time, 200 young professionals from different denominations and backgrounds caught the vision and the power of CharlotteONE. Attendance increased every night with the last night seeing 400+ come together as ONE to worship God and reconnect with local churches in the area.
Today, CharlotteONE reaches between 500-600 young professionals every week and serves nearly 50 local congregations as their young adult outreach service. This unified model, in turn, enables partnering churches to have a more vibrant ministry to this demographic. You can hear me speak to CharlotteONE next Tuesday, October 8, if you are near that area. You can get information on their website.
Because of the success of this collaborative model, CityONE Network was established in March of 2011 to help facilitate and equip local churches in cities across the nation to reach 20-30somethings for Christ and connect them to a local church. PhoenixONE is the first city to join CharlotteONE in the Network, and launched on April 5th, 2011 in downtown Phoenix.
When ACT3 added the word “Network” to our name earlier this year we invited several partners to help us begin building a visible network of allies and friends. Some of our first partners were these ministries in Charlotte and Phoenix. This is why you can expect to see me connected more and more with David Hickman’s vision to plant CityONE movements in other cities across the U.S. I believe this model will reach young adults with the good news in powerful and relational ways that will then be able to connect them to the local church. I ask for your prayer for me and these wonderful partners. I also ask for your prayer for my work in Charlotte this coming Saturday through Tuesday, October 8.