Starting a CSLI Program in Your Area


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; Dallas, TX; Greenville, SCSeattle, WA; Northeast Ohio; Chicago, ILLondon, England; Charlotte, NC; Toronto, CanadaBelfast, Northern Ireland; Loudoun County, VA; and Virginia Beach, VA.

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.

Background Mutual Discernment for Starting a CSLI Program

If a person has interest in having a CSLI in there city can they contact the institute at The Institute seeks to identify leaders through a thorough discernment process which includes a series of steps. The leader of a CSLI city would serve as a City Director for that ministry.

Responsibilities of a C.S. Lewis Institute City Director

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):

  1. Entrepreneur/Visionary/Networker - Ability to cast the disciple-making vision of the Institute and build relationships community-wide that bring people to CSLI programs. This would include outreach to pastors, churches and other ministry leaders so that CSLI would be able to attract committed followers of Christ to the Fellows Program.
  2. Organizational Manager - Able to put a gifted team in place, supervise others, delegate, put systems into place, do follow-up to assure organizational effectiveness so that the Fellows Program, conferences, events, and other programs of the Institute will be well organized.
  3. Administrator - Able to pay attention to details and accomplish the logistics of running programs. This includes budget maintenance, daily and weekly communication, maintaining standard operating procedures, and running an office.
  4. Teacher - Theologically knowledgeable with strengths in discipleship and apologetics with ability to communicate truth in an engaging manner. This is especially important within the Fellows Program and when speaking on behalf of the Institute at outside events.
  5. Spiritual Leader - Recognized by others as a mature disciple in the church and a gifted mentor who is able to disciple others.
  6. Fundraiser – Able to prayerfully seek God’s provision, build relationships with people and communicate the mission of the Institute to people and give them the opportunity to invest in the work of the Institute.

Philosophy of Expansion

Our approach to expansion might best be described as one of PRAYFUL 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:

  • Raise up a person of orthodox beliefs, godly character, spiritual maturity, appropriate gifts and experience to lead it;
  • Raise up a group of godly overseers/advisors from the church community to provide accountability and support;
  • Raise up the necessary financial resources from the community;
  • Make it clear that a program has a reasonable likelihood of success in the locale.

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.

Qualifications of a City Director

  • Be mature in their relationship with Christ
  • Have a healthy, well-established prayer and devotional life
  • Be well-grounded in Scripture and committed to biblical orthodoxy
  • Be well-grounded in theology and apologetics, especially the theology of discipleship/sanctification
  • Have a passion for discipleship of both heart and mind and significant experience in one-on-one and small group discipling
  • Have experience in teaching and the ability to teach well
  • Have a passion for serving the church and impacting the city in which they live
  • Have a good reputation in the community
  • Have the ability to meet the public, relate well with others and work effectively with a variety of personalities, denominations and points of view.
  • Be at least 35 years of age
  • Be in full agreement with the C.S. Lewis Institute's Statement of Faith.


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