We have prayed and asked God to raise up leaders in cities that show an interest, and who might, after a period of discernment, believe God is calling them to start a new Fellows Program. Perhaps God is stirring you to this work.
Until 2006, the Institute's ministry was focused on the Greater Washington, DC area. Since that time branches have been established in Atlanta, GA; Annapolis, MD; Cincinnati, OH; Central Pennsylvania; Seattle, WA; Northeast Ohio; Chicago, IL; London, England; Charlotte, NC; Belfast, Norther Ireland; Loudoun County, VA; and Virginia Beach, VA. Other cities are now in the process of coming on line.
The Institute's vision is for each branch to become a "Center of Discipleship." By this we mean the development over time of as many of the Institute's programs as are needed to nurture authentic discipleship and to connect interested believers, pastors and other ministry leaders in a city. Each person who is trained in discipleship should be equipped and encouraged to reproduce disciples in their homes, neighborhoods, places of work and in their churches. The details of how they implement their discipleship efforts will vary, but the overall goal is to make disciples who will make other disciples and have a disproportionate impact for God's Kingdom in their area. Human planning is obviously important, but all plans need grow out of and rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, direction, timing and pacing.
The core responsibilities include the following (recognizing that someone may not be gifted in all areas, but could recruit team members to fill in any gaps):
Our approach to expansion might best be described as one of prayerful caution. We are well aware of the potential to set up branches in strategic cities across the United States and abroad. However, we are also well aware of the danger of using man's methods to do God's work. We are committed to doing God's work in God's way and to opening branches only where we have good reason to believe the Holy Spirit is leading us. We have no interest in growth for growth's sake.
We believe that if God is leading us to establish a branch in a particular city, he will:
When we determine that a person interested in establishing a branch of the Institute is likely to meet the description above, we begin an exploratory process in which we and they become better acquainted. This process culminates in a thorough assessment of the person in light of the Qualifications of a City Director (see below).
Once a person is approved as a City Director, we will create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will govern the overall relationship between CSLI National and the specific city program. It is important that any potential City Director fully understand the goals, mission and ministry style of the C.S. Lewis Institute and the relationship between CSLI and its branches in individual cities.
Once the City Director is approved to launch a program and the MOU is signed, their next step is to find a group of overseers/advisors who will serve on the City Advisory Board, which provides the local accountability and support necessary for the ministry to be established and to flourish over time. This team must be composed of serious followers of Jesus Christ from various churches and backgrounds who are committed to the vision of establishing the Institute in their area.
The final step is for the city leader and the Advisory Board to secure the funding necessary to launch the program. We do not provide any financial support for launching the program, as we believe God will provide for what he is establishing and that if he doesn't, either it is not his will or it is not his timing. Once these requirements have been met, the program can be launched.
If you believe you may be called to start a C.S. Lewis Institute in your geography, and your heart resonates with the information provided above, you should contact Joel Woodruff for further conversation/discussion.