Local pastors and leaders praying for Pastors Najem and Hernandez during the 2nd Annual School of Transformation in March 2014
The last prayer that Jesus prayed in the Bible concerned unity. What beautiful departing words Jesus spoke comparing the oneness between himself and the Father, to the oneness that was now possible within and among believers. His message was clear; the testimony of a people united in the love of God speaks a compelling story of love and redemption to future generations.
Jesus prayed, “I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these. My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me—the glorious unity of being one, as we are—I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one—so that the world will know you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me.“ John 17:20-23 (TLT)
In this spirit, a group of 12 pastors in the Greater Lowell, Massachusetts area gathered at the invitation of Pastor Rafael Najem of Community Christian Fellowship, and Pastor Cecilio Hernandez of Iglesia Christiana Ebenezer Asambleas de Dios, to examine the prospect of working together. The two pastors presented the concept of a citywide church, an influential, evangelical church body that would bless the city and help to fulfill God’s purpose and will for it. Pastor Najem, a longtime proponent of church unity shared his heart with the group saying, “I cannot save the city, you cannot save the city; but together we sure can make a impact for the Kingdom of God here.”
The group responded enthusiastically and the pastors began to gather monthly to pray, fellowship, and strategize. Together they host annual events including a men’s conference, youth training and outreach, a citywide Block Party, and the School of Transformation designed to train and empower Christian leaders. They call their affiliation the Citywide Church of Greater Lowell – a catalyst to ultimately transform the City of Lowell into the City of God!
The Citywide Church of Greater Lowell (Citywide) strives to unify, empower, and mobilize God’s people to love with his heart and to serve with his hands. As Jesus expressed his love through both spiritual and practical means, so too does his church. The objectives of the Citywide church are to be: 1) Salt and Light in the City, 2) Prophetic Voice for Social Justice, 3) Catalyst for Church Building and Development, and 4) Catalyst for Cross-Cultural/Ethnic Unity.
The number of churches actively participating in Citywide has almost doubled with a wonderfully enriched membership of multilingual, multi-ethnic, and multi-denominational believers. This diversity reflects the population in the city of Lowell, and the differences among them are respected and appreciated. Since no one church can meet the needs of all people; diversity broadens the access for new believers to settle in a church that suits their individual expression.
The message of God’s love and redemption is preached through various means. In the case of Citywide, God is using the marvel of oneness.“ Jesus prayed, “I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these…”
Written by Donna Dougherty
Click here to listen or download the messages from the School of Transformation
To learn more about Citywide Church of Greater Lowell please visit: https://www.facebook.com/CitywideChurchOfGreaterLowell
Pastor Rafael Najem, Community Christian Fellowship, www.ccfcca.com
Pastor Cecilio Hernandez, Iglesia Christiana Ebenezer Asambleas de Dios,
Signs held by Citywide church pastors & leaders around the city of Lowell