Since its founding in 2001, CTC has helped gospel-centered churches begin and flourish in urban areas. Headquartered in New York City, the ministry initially focused on church planting in global cities and has established networks for Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Africa and the Middle East. In its first 15 years, CTC helped plant 495 churches in 70 global cities.
Apart from its office in New York City, CTC did not establish a network in North America. But as the organization has grown, more North American pastors have asked to plug into its resources.
In 2016, a group of leaders began discussing how best to offer more resources to church planters and planting networks in the United States and Canada (Mexico is included in the Latin America network).
The purpose of CTCNA has never been to supplant the good work churches and denominations are doing in urban areas, but CTCNA can offer help to strengthen these endeavors.
CTCNA is the initial product of those conversations. The affiliate officially launched in October with the first CTCNA conference in Chicago. The conference featured nine plenary sessions — with speakers such as Tim Keller, Carl Ellis, Trillia Newbell, and Charlie Dates — and 50 breakout sessions. The conference attracted hundreds of pastors, church-planting network leaders, and lay leaders from across the United States and Canada.
CTC is not a denomination; rather, it is a resource to help churches and church-planting networks expand their reach for the Gospel.
Walter Wood coaches church planters in Europe and serves as assistant director of CTCNA. He said CTCNA wants to “equip church planters, help revitalize churches, encourage churches to love their cities, and equip people to apply their faith in the marketplace.”
CTCNA chose Chicago for its kickoff conference because of its central location, and to offer church leaders a close-up perspective on the problems and opportunities in the country’s third-largest metropolitan area.
“Chicago is a city of great need and with many problems, but also with great churches and solid ministry going on,” Wood said. It stirs us to think strategically.
Leaders at CTCNA hope that the October conference began productive conversations about working across denominational lines to reach North American cities with the Gospel. Wood said CTCNA would like to focus initially on the 14 largest cities in the U.S. and Canada and encourage regional gatherings for training, sharing ideas, and continuing conversations that started in Chicago.
The three hoped-for outcomes for the Chicago conference were to pray, gather, and grow: pray for North American cities — beginning with the 14 target cities; gather together people who share a vision for reaching cities with the Gospel, and provide urban churches with resources to help them grow.
The purpose of CTCNA has never been to supplant the good work churches and denominations are doing in urban areas, but CTCNA can offer help to strengthen these endeavors. Ultimately, Wood hopes CTCNA will help church leaders who agree on the essentials of the faith to work together to reach their cities with the Gospel.
“There is a lot of tribalism out there with people doing their own thing without greater vision for the city,” Wood said. “That vision emerges when people across denominations come together and pray. We hope to hasten the end of tribalism across the evangelical church in North America.”