Nine years ago, a young pastor, Nate Sweeney, went through The Journey process, and not only did this process help him immensely on a personal level, he caught a vision for his entire church.  What if every single person in his church had an intimate, abiding relationship with Christ and lived out their life as a disciple?  Surely, this would transform his church into an Abiding Church and a powerful asset to reach his community.

The vision seemed clear, and he moved forward with faith and boldness.  At first, his plan was not accepted fully, and as Nate recalls, “I grew the church from 250 to 125.” Yes, many people left the church, but this did not dissuade Nate from the direction to which God was calling him.

He persisted and started raising up Journey guides and starting multiple groups who, in turn, poured into others in subsequent years.  In addition, the message of The Journey, “abiding in Christ”, was preached from the pulpit often and began to infiltrate their DNA in every facet of the church’s ministry.  They have done Men’s groups, Women’s groups, and Youth groups.

Nate is on the Influencers Global Board and is a great resource as we share our ministry with pastors and new churches on a consistent basis.  He started “The Abiding Network” to provide a resource for pastors who want to sell out to the mission of making Disciples.

Nate gave us an update the other day as to some of the fruit of having an Abiding Church.  Here are a few highlights:

  • 49% of our regular attenders give financially on a regular basis. (Tithe) The number of our regular attenders who are currently serving in live it out areas is closer to 60%.

 

  • We have a long list of lives that have been and are being transformed before our eyes. I am talking about miraculous stories of people who once were bound in sinful lifestyles and how now are serving Christ in freedom and liberty.

 

  • We have around 700 people who call Catalyst home and who are active in our church. 44% of these are under 18. Our family ministry platform uses vertically- driven abiding in Christ tools to lead our young people to intimacy with Christ.

 

  • I would estimate that around 2/3 of our adult members have been through the journey. (Probably around 225-250 people) We have a healthy culture that continues to produce fruit.

Nate believes the evidence is overwhelming that the “Abiding Church Model,” using The Journey, works.  He says, “It is messy, administratively inefficient, dirty, time-consuming and painful, but it works. Discipleship works!! Praise God for these simplistic principles that Christ gave us to reproduce in His Kingdom.” “The greatest fruit of an abiding church is transformed lives.”

 

If you are a pastor or know of a pastor who might want to learn more about the Abiding Network, go to the Abiding Network Page on our website.  There are more resources and opportunities for pastors to get plugged in.