7 Reasons We Love the NACC and the Restoration Movement

Intentional Churches (IC) is heading to Indianapolis, IN next week to participate in the North American Christian Convention. This year, IC was asked to design a new format for the NACC workshops. We put our heads together and came up with a new concept called Leadership Huddles. Unlike a traditional workshop, Leadership Huddles are three-hour teaching and mentoring sessions built to develop lasting relationships and action plans for immediate ministry impact.

The North American Christian Convention is connected to the Restoration Movement. It is the annual gathering of a tribe of churches called the Independent Christian Churches (ICC). This is a wonderful group of non-denominational churches who share a common heritage dating back over 200 years. Some of the world’s most effective ministries are connected to this brotherhood of churches.

Doug Parks and I owe a huge debt of thanks to this tribe for many reasons. It was in these independent, Bible-believing churches that we accepted Christ and the call to ministry. It was in these churches that we cut our teeth in ministry and were mentored by great, loving leaders. It is in these churches that we still worship today in Las Vegas.

Here is why we love our spiritual family of origin and how it impacts us and IC:

  1. Pioneering Spirit. The Restoration Movement was born on the frontier of America in the early 19th century. From its inception, it has had a fearless pioneering spirit. Some of today’s greatest church planting organizations and events have roots in the Independent Christian Churches.  You’ve probably heard of Stadia, Orchard Group, and Exponential to name a few. This movement is entrepreneurial and growth-oriented by nature!
  2. Lack of Pretense. Because of the nature of their beginnings, the ICC’s are traditionally simple and not overly bound by extraneous traditions. The movement was formed to strip the local church of what was unnecessary and return it to its Acts 2 roots. The spirit of the movement is non-pretentious and extremely down to earth. No church leaders “keep it real” better than the ICC’s.
  3. Faithful AND Fruitful. Not long ago, Ed Stetzer wrote a blog about the need to balance theological integrity and pragmatism. Alone, neither provides the ultimate test for effectiveness. Rather, effectiveness in the local church is found in both a commitment to God’s inerrant Word, and awareness of the practical realities of the world in which we minister. No group of churches does a better job of balancing these than the ICC’s. They are quick to adapt strategies to be more effective without compromising their foundational commitment to scripture.
  4. Evangelism AND Discipleship. At IC, we often use the phrase “more and better” to describe our efforts to help churches increase their Kingdom Impact.  We want both – more and better disciples! This commitment to balance definitely comes from our roots in the ICC’s. No group better balances a focus on evangelistic preaching while calling believers to increasing surrender to Christ. The two naturally go hand in hand in these churches.
  5. Christians Only, Not the Only Christians. We resonate deeply with this basic tenant of the ICC’s. If we are going to impact the world for Christ, we must do more to link arms as church leaders in new and exciting ways. No group is better suited to cross uncrossable boundaries and unify Christ-followers to the ends of greater Kingdom Impact. This belief is baked into IC’s commitment to build a tribe of like-minded leaders from all backgrounds and models of church.
  6. Scripture First. At IC, we begin each Intentional Growth Plan with a look at Acts 2, Matthew 28 (The Great Commission), and Luke 15 (the lost chapter). If we are going to grow the local church’s impact, the plan and conversation must start with the fundamentals found in these scriptures. This movement taught us to begin with scripture. Everything you need to reach and grow people for Christ is found there.  We just need a great plan to unleash the inherent power of the Gospel.
  7. Keep It Simple. In this digital age of information overload, we’re often tempted to over-complicate our church leadership strategies. Growing up in the home of a Christian Church pastor, I learned to simplify my leadership, subsequently joining strategic ICC teams. Let’s get the big stuff right! Let’s gather for preaching and worship, build life-changing relationships, and send people into the world to impact others in the name of Christ. Stripping away complexity is a conviction we embrace and one we learned from the ICC’s.

Our spiritual family will always be special, the place we will always call home. It’s also what continues to drive Doug Parks and me to lead IC to bigger and broader impact for Christ. Thank you to the North American Christian Convention for gathering us together in unity and reminding us of this powerful heritage!!

Bart Rendel

About Bart Rendel

Bart was an executive leader at Crossroads Christian Church in Lexington, KY and Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV for over eighteen years. Bart’s passion for serving churches comes from his upbringing as a pastor’s kids where he learned about the intentionality of reaching and growing people in Christ from his mother and father. His conviction runs deep. Bart and his family remain connected to Central Christian. He is married to Catherine with two children and finds the occasional time to play a round of golf or take in a Kentucky Wildcats game. He has been helping churches and leaders around the country increase their Kingdom Impact since 2004.

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