1. How long has this effort been going on and how did it get started?
A group of Christian lay and ministry leaders and pastors met for several years in the mid-1990s to discuss how churches and para-church ministries in Columbus could affect deep and sustainable change in the neediest areas of our city. After lengthy discussions we adopted a set of values for this undertaking, including high-character leadership, demonstrating compassion to the needy, collaboration within the Christian community, partnerships between the Christian community and other religious and secular groups, research-based programs, measurable outcomes, and the development of future generations of leaders. MissionColumbus was formed in 2000 when an advisory team of eight leaders was created. Our efforts were focused in three areas—providing capacity-building resources to local congregations and ministries, facilitating relational networks of pastors and leaders, and developing programs that addressed pressing needs in disadvantaged areas of Columbus.
2. Is Mission Columbus an organization?
In 2010 MissionColumbus became an incorporated 501c3 non-profit organization and it was organized into two programming engines—MissionColumbus Institute and MissionColumbus Initiatives. MissionColumbus Institute focuses on community research, the study of best practices, capacity-building for local Christian organizations, and leadership development. MissionColumbus Initiatives develops programs in high-need communities using our field-tested, proven resources.
3. Aren’t pastors and ministry leaders divided by their theological and spiritual differences?
Although there are many areas of potential disagreement, pastors and ministry leaders in Columbus have a proven track record of putting aside their differences in theological non-essentials in order to reach our city with the Gospel.
4. What denominations are represented?
Almost every major protestant denomination is represented in the ministries of MissionColumbus.
5. What ethnic groups are involved?
As relationships of trust continue to develop between racially and ethnically diverse pastors in Columbus, there is potential for broad-based partnerships in tackling the larger issues that face our neighborhoods and city. For example, the African-American Church led the way in addressing the social and the spiritual needs of the poor for generations, and the rest of the Church is now learning from their example. Furthermore, as Columbus becomes more diverse, every effort is being made to build relational bridges with the leaders of other ethnic communities and to affirm their role in reaching the city with the Gospel.
6. Do other cities have city-reaching efforts?
Yes! Many cities in the United States have a city transformation movement. Although every city has its unique approach, most share the common vision of changing the spiritual and social landscape of their city through the power of the Gospel. Visit www.cityreaching.com for more information.