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Acts 2 Journey
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Encounter

Acts 2:4

The first-century Church began with the encounter of Pentecost.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4, NKJV).

Message

Acts 2:14-16

Peter went out to the inquisitive Jews and explained what was happening; he was preaching the Message (or explanation) of what was happening. His message was so anointed that three thousand people were saved and immediately baptized.

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: 'Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel'” (Acts 2:14-16, ESV).

Implementation

Acts 2:42-47

Luke wrote about a process, that when implemented, resulted in the first-century church that turned the then-known world “upside down.”

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47, ESV).

What is the Acts 2 Journey Cohort?

The Acts 2 Journey Cohort is a transformative process led by an experienced team to help you fulfill the vision you have to strengthen your church spiritually, numerically and relationally.  Join with a team of leaders from your church for a series of four weekend retreats over the course of a year to pray, dream, and strategize about the future of your church.

Retreat 1

1. Why do we exist? (Mission)

2. Where are we going? (Vision)

Pastors and their teams work together to assess their current reality by establishing their position on a life cycle. Then, they answer the first two of the ten questions.

Retreat 2

3. How should we behave? (Values)

Pastors and their teams identify the church's individual DNA and the biblical core values that undergird the vision. Teams then work together to identify their church's current core values, both positive and negative, before creating or refining a set of core values that align with the vision and guide their priorities and actions. 

Retreat 3

4. How will we get there? (Strategic Plan)

5. How will we engage new people? (Go)

6. How will we treat them when they arrive? (Connect)

7. How will we disciple them? (Grow)

8. How will we train them to serve? (Serve)

9. How will we involve them in missions, both locally and globally? (Go)

10. How will we help them encounter God? (Worship)

The team constructs an operating plan tailored to their context based on the Acts 2 template (Connect, Grow, Serve, Go, Worship). Teams compile their vision statement, core values list, and strategy steps to prepare a brief presentation to share with other teams participating in the cohort. The presentation serves as a working draft of how the team will launch the plan to the congregation at a strategically chosen time after the cohort concludes.

Retreat 4

Strategic Communication and Vision Launch

In Retreat 4, each team receives practical instruction on how to successfully launch what they have collectively discerned as God's vision. Then, in an inspiring and celebratory atmosphere, churches present drafts of their plans to others in the cohort.


What is it that makes the Acts 2 Journey effective?

The kingdom of God isn't about numbers; it's about stories. Every local church, regardless of size, can write them.

With a great number of church health and growth strategies available to today’s pastors and church leaders, what is it that sets the Acts 2 Journey apart? 

 

The principles and accompanying stories below reveal the key contributors to church health we’ve discovered to help the local church grow younger, pass on the faith to the next generations, look more like their neighborhoods, and engage Jesus-followers in missional living.

Every pastor needs a team.

People who care, people who believe, people who can think, and people who will dream about the future of the church.

Rare is the leader who can guide a church to a new day alone. Such efforts really aren’t healthy and seldom endure when the leader is gone.

 

With a team, we find a clearer assessment of current realities, a shared vision that better fits the congregation’s story, a wider array of gifts and leadership capacities, and greater levels of influence in the congregation that will help when it’s time to launch the strategic plan. Plus, the Acts 2 Journey experience can create or deepen a partnership between pastor and team that will benefit the local church for years. The fun and encouragement of working together can make all the difference.



Communicating change in context is critical.

Change is a process, not an event.
Intentional communication is the backbone of any effective change journey. In the A2J experience, teams will develop and practice their presentations, develop print pieces to support their communications, and learn best practices for nurturing excitement for the vision God has given.

Since these plans have been made by a team of key influencers rather than just the ideas of a single leader, there’s already a sense of “we” and “us” that will aid congregational buy-in and allow the enthusiasm to spread quickly.


Outward focus is the essential catalyst for greater church health.

100% of your church's growth potential is found in people who are there yet.
When a congregation has lost the vision that once drove it forward, a natural “inward focus” quickly fills the gap. Our preferences, our favorite ways, and the ministries that meet our own family’s needs become our priorities, and we are usually unaware that our church’s rate of decline has begun to accelerate. That’s why the Acts 2 Journey experience gives high priority to “lifting our eyes” and “moving beyond our walls” in pursuit of Christ’s mission. 

Our research has clearly demonstrated a direct correlation between a local church’s efforts of community engagement and the overall health of that congregation. Every step outward brings a corresponding step toward greater overall effectiveness. 


Aligning values and strategies around a clear vision will most effectively propel the local church toward the fulfillment of Christ's mission.

Most churches don't really need answers. They need better questions.
While finding clear vision is essential to launching a new lifecycle for your local church, it’s also the easiest part. The greater work comes when we begin defining what it will take to get there. Identifying values that can create a new culture and strategies that can aim our best efforts toward the path we hope to travel are the greater challenge. 

We start with values, both existing and aspirational, and likely discover some of what’s been hindering our efforts in the past. Armed with these new ways to reshape our culture, we then turn to the steps it will take to get there. In the Acts 2 Journey experience, each church responds to key strategic questions that help shape key steps in evangelism, assimilation, discipleship, gift-oriented ministry, and worship.

Vision supported by the right values and the best real steps to get there is the local church’s most effective path toward fulfilling Christ’s mission.


Every local church is designed for his mission, every pastor is in place for this moment, and every individual has gifts and abilities to be used to strengthen his church.

No local church has a future until its dreams become greater than its memories.
The A2J experience is all about the pursuit of a Spirit-inspired future we have yet to achieve or experience. Certainly, the past isn’t disregarded as it provides our foundation. In fact, we are always three congregations in one—the church we have been, the church we’re becoming, and the church we will one day be. 

The A2J experience starts with hope but ends with commitment and the belief that we are made for this moment. 


Everything starts with vision.

Lost vision in the pew is the primary cause of plateau in the local church.}|In the Acts 2 Journey, we define vision as the unique expression of Christ’s mission for our local church—our description of the church we believe we are meant to become.

The vision is the “engine” that drives us forward. We find that engine at the place where leaders’ collective passion, congregational abilities, and community need intersect. In truth, only a vision born of our true passion can launch a new lifecycle and begin to transform our church. Vision statements that fail to stir our hearts will never achieve the goal, no matter how clever they may seem. Only when our hearts truly engage what our eyes hope to see will we find the necessary stamina to face the challenges ahead.


God has a unique, Spirit-empowered dynamic for every congregation.

The Acts 2 Journey isn't a one-size-fits-all walk through someone else's story. It's a journey of spiritual and strategic discovery unique to the story God is writing in every congregation.
While the A2J experience is designed for any congregation regardless of their current reality, most churches we’ve engaged in recent years are currently plateaued or even in a significant period of decline. And we’ve proven that we can help them! 

Because we believe in the uniqueness of each church’s journey, there isn’t a local church who can’t do this! The Acts 2 Journey experience fits every church because it is their journey we are walking, and we are determined to help pastors and leaders discover the path and the vision they were meant to pursue. 


There is hope for every local church.

We simply can't stay where we are. Our intended future is beyond the boundaries of our current reality.
Sadly, pastors and church leaders don’t always engage the Acts 2 Journey experience filled with hope. Many have lived in their struggling reality for so long that a “culture of cant” now dominates any thought of a better future. They’ve envied the stories of others but often faced the painful reality that they lack the people, the resources, and the abilities in their setting to see the ministry success they had hoped for.

Repeatedly, pastors say to us, “Finally, someone understands churches like ours,” or, “Finally, there’s a plan that we can engage, one that can fit our situation.”

 

We have worked hard to design the Acts 2 Journey experience in a way that’s accessible to any congregation, but it’s restored hope that makes a better future possible. Hope might prove to be the greatest gift we can give to any of these leaders, and frankly, no success is likely until we do.

 

What Are Others Saying About the Acts 2 Journey Cohort?
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Church Assessment Tool

The Acts 2 Church Survey is a fully validated church health survey for Spirit-Empowered local churches. Focusing on twelve church health factors, the survey can help you to identify your church’s strengths and challenges in order to pursue the best paths to greater ministry effectiveness.

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