Focus – Sending
The Acts 13 Network in Ypsilanti is one where we have sending as our telos. We are focused on how we move from being far from God to being on mission with God. We realize that discipleship has sending as a necessary end. Therefore, all we do must be reproducible at the micro and macro levels. What we do as a gathered community, we must be able to do as a sent community.
Strategy – Saturation
A sponge is a remarkable thing. It will receive as much water as it can hold. What happens next? It overflows. It overflows all over the place. Once the sponge is saturated it can not help but overflow. To keep the water from being lost, other sponges need to be placed around it. But not just one. A multiplicity of sponges are required.
The Acts 13 Network embraces a saturation model of gospel living because the focus is on sending. If we are going to send people on mission beyond ourselves then we must be saturating a local area with gospel living. This will eventually hit a tipping point where we are necessarily sending missionaries. Again, this happens at the micro and macro levels of the movement.
Means – Hospitality
The Acts 13 Network will live out hospitality. When we read the story of the people of God we find that hospitality punctuates it. Abraham hosts the Angel of the Lord. Jesus consistently eats with people. The early church broke bread together and worshiped. Hospitality is reproducible and repeatable. You can do hospitality in first, second, and third spaces. You can do hospitality indoors and outdoors. You can do hospitality with a lot of money or a little money. You can do this if you’re old or young, single or married.
The Structure – Up, In, and Out
The Acts 13 Network is built from the ground up through missional communities (out) and huddles (in). This means that the structure will be intentionally flat. These structures will not be ends in themselves but a means by which multiplication and rapid replication occurs. They will necessarily be influx. Each person in a huddle will hopefully be leading multiple groups in multiple spheres of influence (neighborhood, school, work, etc). Many of these people will gather (up) on Sunday evenings for a time of celebration, training, and vision.
The Sample Week
Each week we will gather together on Sunday evening for a meal. After breaking bread we will worship together. This will be a time of prayer, singing, corporate confession, sacrament, and the Word. We will then be sent. As the week rolls on, the people of the Acts 13 Network will reproduce what they experienced on Sunday night through missional communities. They will eat with others, they will pray, sing, confess, and share the word. This will look different in a variety of contexts but it will be reproductions of what was played out on Sunday night. Week in and week out reproducing ourselves in Ypsi.
Focus – Sent
This will necessarily saturate Ypsi. This means that from the beginning we will be training the next local leaders of the coming movements. Which necessarily means that we will need to evaluate and transform our current model of training leaders (4 years of institutional training) and incorporate an apprenticeship model that includes the necessary theological/biblical training with the necessary practical movement building training.