(Photo: The New York City Leadership Center)
Urban leaders from across the nation are expected to flock to New York City for a single day in October to collaborate, study and network with some of the top city-based leaders from a wide spectrum to get inspired and equipped to spark spiritual transformation and bring renewal to their own cities.
Movement Day 2013, co-hosted by Pastor Tim Keller's Redeemer Presbyterian Church and the American Bible Society, has been preparing under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. McKenzie "Mac" Pier to welcome well over 1,000 Christian leaders from hundreds of U.S. cities to the Marriott Marquis New York, the site of the annual gathering.
"Our mission is to facilitate collaborative partnerships among Christian leaders, foster networking and inspire catalytic leaders to maximize their own leadership potential," explained Pier, president of The New York City Leadership Center, in a statement.
"God has used these conferences to stir, encourage, and challenge us with dynamic, creative ways to meet the pressing needs of our rapidly growing cities. We fully anticipate that Movement Day 2013 will be no exception as God continues to unify us in purpose and inspire our hearts that we can make a difference in the lives of those people we are called to serve."
Keller and Pier, main plenary speakers at the event, will be joined by Dr. Raymond Bakke, chancellor of Bakke Graduate University in Seattle, Wash., Connally Gilliam of The Navigators in Washington, D.C., and Sherry Jones, president and founder of Sonship Freedom in Philadelphia, Pa.
Movement Day, in its third year, will have dozens of ministry, church, business, foundation and education leaders teach tracks meant to tackle "some of the most relevant and important social and spiritual issues faced today."
The various tracks being offered include: The Power of Authentic Communities in our Cities; Campus Ministry & City Movements; Seasons of Urban Church Planting; Energizing City; Movements Through Effective Community Development; Global Missions Engagement: Strategies to Change the World; and several others.
Movement Day, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 10 and kicking off at 8 a.m. , is based in New York City for a specific reason, according to Pier, president of The New York City Leadership Center that coordinates the annual event.
"New York City is the most influential city in America," according to Pier. "All of the social and spiritual issues that need to be addressed by a gospel movement can be experienced within its borders. A model that works in NYC can likely be adapted to work in any other large city in the U.S. and, perhaps, the rest of the world."
Pier's The New York City Leadership Center has hosted leadership consultations for more than 10,000 leaders in the 15 years since its founding. It maintains that its mission is to "to exponentially increase the leadership effectiveness of ministry and marketplace leaders" and that its vision is "to become a model of Christian leaders impacting the spiritual and social climate of an urban center."
Below, are a series questions and answers with Pier regarding his work and Movement Day that were provided for The Christian Post's readers.
What do you hope to accomplish through Movement Day?
Pier: It's a fact that most major cities face many of the same spiritual and social issues. These issues include vast populations unreached by the gospel, profound poverty and an emerging youth population that is struggling to surpass the 50 percent high school graduation rate. By challenging and activating Christian leaders in cities to step up and confront these issues collaboratively through a gospel movement we can transform the lives of marginalized peoples and ultimately change those cities and our entire culture for Christ.
How would you actually define a "gospel movement"?
Pier: A gospel movement is considered to be happening when the Christian population is growing faster than the general population in a city and/or region. It also encompasses the following elements:
-The integration of local churches reaching new individuals with the gospel;
-Ministry and community leaders transforming the lives of youth, the poor and marginalized;
-Cultural leaders exercising their faith and influence in every sector of society; and
-Citywide networks that mobilize, develop and connect these leaders.
When all of these elements work together to make the gospel of grace, truth, mercy and justice visible and tangible, the kingdom of God will become more real in the life of each city. We believe Movement Day can help make that happen through the ministry, marketplace and community leaders in attendance.
This is the third year for Movement Day. What have you seen accomplished as a result of the conference so far?
Pier: The concept and program are definitely growing, both in numbers of committed people and in the level of excitement. The first year we had more than 800 leaders from 150 cities and 14 countries attend Movement Day. That attendance number increased in 2012 to more than a thousand leaders. We anticipate 1,400 participants this year.
We're also seeing Christian leaders in more than 30 cities forming "city teams," working together to face the social and spiritual issues of their cities head on with the gospel. And it's working! People's lives and multiple cities are being transformed by these collaborations. Leaders in the city of Dallas are adapting the Movement Day model and plan to host an event focused on mobilizing leaders to collaboratively address the issues impacting their city.
When people attend Movement Day in New York on October 10, what will they experience at the conference?
Pier: Movement Day 2013 is a one-day event that will feature such remarkable leaders and speakers as Dr. Raymond Bakke, Dr. Timothy Keller and several others speaking on today's leadership trends and challenges. There also are a dozen or more topical tracks held in the afternoon that leaders can choose from — tracks that function as "working groups" focused upon specific urban issues. It will be a full day of paradigm-shifting — teachings, networking with other leaders from around the country, sharing of best-practices, all focused on transforming the world for Christ, one city at a time.