I am presently working on developing a new blog site as well as a new ACT 3 web site. I am also working on developing a separate site for the ACT 3 Missional-Ecumenical Cohort Groups. This site will provide information about this new training program but it will also provide an opportunity for students and graduates to enter private subsections of the site for updates and important on-going interaction. Graduates will become part of a life-long learning process through this site, and learn about future gatherings, which we will provide to those who finish this course.
Our first ACT 3 Cohort class graduated this last Tuesday, April 17. Thirteen adults completed the first Cohort that we've done. We began last October in a classroom on the Wheaton College campus. I am praying for hundreds more to follow these thirteen in the next five years. I am also working to find and equip a group of very gifted leaders who can facilitate these groups across the country as this ministry grows. The goal is to find and teach lay and pastoral leaders in three core areas of faith and practice. These are:
1. The growing development of the interior life.
This can be called spiritual formation but the term is becoming overused these days. The central idea is that no one can influence (spiritually and eternally) anyone else unless their own soul is deeply formed by the Trinity.
2. The importance and practice of deep, relational and biblical ecumenism.
This is not simply an intellectual idea or a set of doctrinal beliefs. It is a learned behavior and practice that we believe can be taught and practiced only in community and real partnerships.
3. The purpose of helping churches and missions understand and practice what is called missional theology.
We do not believe that the missional church movement, or missional theology, is a passing fad. It is a deep, fresh discovery (the last twenty years or so) that has immense implications for the life of all Christians in the new millennium.
Each ACT 3 Missional-Ecumenical Cohort Group exists to fulfill the purpose of this mission: "to equip leaders for unity in Christ's mission." There are several ways that we do this but the ACT 3 Cohort Groups have become the primary way that we will do this in the coming years. I will teach/facilitate in a number of cities, discipling leaders who can live and pass on these great truths, and then teach others to do the same by becoming ACT 3 facilitator/teachers. ACT 3 will become a central catalyst for this process of training. We will not control this process but we will brand it and protect it. Each group will be unique since no single group is like another and each facilitator will lead the group differently. We welcome diversity in unity. These groups will thus consist of men and women, lay and clerical, Protestant and Catholic (and Orthodox), young and old, formally educated and non-formally educated. There is no requirement for being in a group but a deep desire to be equipped in these three areas, or core commitments. If a person believes this group can help them become the spiritual leader that God desires them to become then this group just might be right.
Next week I will write more. For now I am buried in planning and creating at least five more groups over the next few weeks. (There will be two in Chicago, as well as one in Philadelphia, Dallas, Phoenix and maybe St. Louis.) Please pray. Your support, interest and gifts will help us reach this goal of training a significant number of missional leaders.
As we rebuild our web presence and develop these new Cohort Groups would you please pray for me and those who work with me at ACT 3? We are small but we have a big idea that we believe God gave to us. We believe that we can pour money into people and training, not buildings and programs. We believe the church desperately needs such leaders right now and we are committed to doing our part in finding and training these leaders.
You can learn more about the Missional-Ecumenical Cohort Groups, at least for now, on the home page (enter through the icon of The Unity Factor) of ACT 3.