The City To City North America (CTCNA) website describes the organization as being dedicated to supporting courageous leaders who are driving gospel movements in cities across North America. It was founded by Tim Keller, a well-known pastor and thought leader, and stems from Redeemer City to City New York. The organization has steadily grown to serve cities in North America by developing local leaders.
One of the recent events organized by CTCNA was the "Family Gathering '' held on January 29-30. This gathering aimed to bring together around 100 diverse, collaborative, and evangelistic leaders from strategic cities in the United States. The leaders had the opportunity to build relationships, learn from each other, worship, pray, and be strengthened for the particular work that God has called them to in their respective cities.
During the gathering, Anthony D. Bobo, Jr., Senior Associate at The Joseph Factor Group and Influential Global Ministries Sankofa Director, led a discussion on the CTCNA African American Initiative. This initiative includes The Sankofa Project, which since 2020 has involved over 400 African American pastors and leaders rediscovering the heritage of the Black Church, reimagining how to do ministry in today's context, and engaging communities for Christ. Bobo expressed a sense of belonging during the gathering, with discussions revolving around both the challenges of ministry and the celebration of what God is doing in cities across the country.
The Sankofa Men’s Summit, also known as The Gathering Of The Kings, took place in Jackson, MS from January 5-7, 2024. The event was hosted by Bishop Glake Hill, Jr. of the Mississippi Diocese, Church of Christ Holiness U.S.A., and Bishop Ronnie Crudup of New Horizon Church.
The three-day summit aimed to inspire, instruct, and equip black men in various aspects of their lives. Each night, services were held featuring renowned preachers from around the country who encouraged black men to take a stand in their homes, communities, and churches.
On Saturday, workshops were conducted on topics such as black men's physical and mental health, entrepreneurship, and church. Anthony D. Bobo, Jr., Senior Associate at The Joseph Factor Group, was one of the experts invited to participate in the session. He sat on the panel alongside Bishop Crudup, Bishop Daniel Littleton of the Mississippi Southern First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, Church of God in Christ, and Rev Dr. James Smith of Virtual-Edge 4 Biz & Virtual-Edge 4 Leaders.
Reflecting on the panel discussion, Bobo expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to have an open conversation about black men and the church in front of a supportive audience of men who care about the church. The panel members shared strategies to make the church more attractive to black men and create an environment where they feel welcomed, empowered, and loved.
Bishop Glake, the host of the gathering, reiterated multiple times that the event is part of a journey, and they look forward to walking alongside those who desire to improve their health, wealth, and spiritual lives in the coming year.
The Aaron and Hur Cohort was designed to provide pastors and leaders with a transformative experience that would equip them with the skills and mindset needed to reimagine ministry in a rapidly changing world. Participants engaged in a year-long curriculum that included intensive training, mentorship, and practical application. The Cohort is made possible through a partnership with Influential Global Ministries (Sacramento, CA), River of Life (Lithia Springs, GA), Reformed Church In America African American Black Council (Grand Rapids, MI), and The Joseph Factor Group (National Harbor, MD).
On December 8-9, 2023, Christian pastors and leaders from around the country met at Midtown Church. During the gathering at Midtown in Sacramento, the Christian leaders celebrated the achievements of the Cohort participants and recognized their dedication and hard work. They shared testimonies of personal and ministry transformation and highlighted the impact the Cohort has had on their communities.
Mark Bobo (Associate, The Joseph Factor Group), as the lead facilitator, played a vital role in guiding the participants through the curriculum and facilitating meaningful discussions and workshops. With his expertise and experience, he was able to address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by pastors and leaders in today's world.
Anthony D. Bobo, Jr. (Senior Associate, The Joseph Factor Group), as the Cohort Director, oversaw the overall implementation of the program. He worked closely with the participants, providing guidance and support throughout their journey. His leadership and vision were instrumental in creating an environment that fostered growth, collaboration, and innovation.
The gathering in Sacramento was not only a celebration but also a time of networking, collaboration, and exchanging ideas. Christian leaders from different backgrounds and denominations came together to learn from one another and explore new possibilities for ministry.
Overall, the 2023 Aaron and Hur Cohort gathering was a significant event in the Christian community, marking the completion of a transformative program that empowered pastors and leaders to reimagine ministry and make a lasting impact in their communities. This is the third year of the Cohort.
Click Here To See A Recap Of The Cohort Experience
Excited About The Future
“Up at 4am, dark, humid Friday morning in the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia)…. I hug the wife and head out the door…” shares Anthony D. Bobo, Jr. (Senior Associate, The Joseph Factor Group). “Man, tired, but so excited about what God is going to do among us in Flowood, MS Saturday.”
What is he talking about? Well, October 28, 2023 was the 25th year celebration of the R.E.A.L. Christian Foundation. He and Mark Bobo (Associate, The Joseph Factor Group) would attend the event that was a celebration and training. They attend to represent the work of Influential Global Ministries (IGM) who are focused on equipping and releasing cross-cultural, reconciling, justice-oriented, and metropolitan disciple-makers through leadership development, church planting movements, and church revitalization.
What Is REAL?
The Rural Education and Leadership Christian Foundation, Inc. (REAL) was started by Dolphus and Rosie Weary who worked for over 40 years in Mississippi communities to address issues that cause or result from rural poverty like the lack of educational opportunities, poor nutrition, and the barriers to medical care, to name a few. Many Mississippi communities need more support than the local, state, or federal government can give them. Nonprofits help fill this need, but non-profits in rural areas, especially those that are led by minorities and/or are Christian-based often do not have access to the same financial support and resources as urban, non-Christian non-profits. REAL’s founders understand the unique challenges these nonprofits face on every level. As a result, REAL provides both some of the needed money and training to these community leaders in rural Mississippi. They also give these community leaders opportunities to connect with each other so they can share stories of success, failure, and possibly be resources for each other.
REAL started in 1998 in a home in Richland, MS, with no money and 2,000 copies of an autobiographical book written by Dolphus has come true in the form of a $2.7 million endowed foundation that has given away over $1 million to over 25 non-profits serving 14 different communities and located in 12 counties, all in Mississippi. These Mississippi counties include Bolivar, Copiah, Covington, Holmes, Jefferson Davis, Leflore, Quitman, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, and Walthall counties.
What Was The 25th Celebration
The celebration was held at the Sheraton Flowood Refuge Hotel and Conference Center. The beautiful resort was the perfect setting for a celebration of such an impactful organization.
The purpose of the conference was to better understand the benefits of nonprofits, best practices in running a nonprofit, and inspiration to consider new trends and ideas as it relates to nonprofits. The Joseph Factor Group was brought in to discuss with the Christian leaders the importance of “soul care.” How do leaders care for their whole health (mind, body and spirit)? How do they teach and preach to their congregations to care for their whole health? And how do they engage resources to aid in bettering the whole health of communities in which they serve?
“The 25th Anniversary celebration was a special experience. To engage with over 50 people who represent churches, ministries, and organizations that have committed to continual growth of our rural communities was both enlightening and inspirational. I met so many from various backgrounds, denominations and demographic locations. The commonality amongst us all was we are each striving to make an impact for Christ” expresses Mark Bobo.
Click here for more information on REAL.
Click here for more information on IGM.
It was months in the making, but the Ladies First & Influential Leaders Conference in Sacramento, CA was a powerful presence of God!” exclaims Anthony D. Bobo, Jr. (Senior Associate, The Joseph Factor Group).
On September 21-22, 2023, we gathered for two days at Midtown Church (Sacramento, CA) for an empowering, enriching, and equipping time for Christian leaders. “Ladies First” was a day all about the women. In worship, teaching, and preaching, they were encouraged to lead well, live well, and love well. Sister Donecia Norwood-Smith kicked off the conference preaching about the significance of “Ladies First.” The day was filled with Christian women leaders pouring out their hearts to all who were present with encouragement to uplift and elevate them to greater heights.
That night, was the beginning of the “Influential Leadership Conference” where Christian Leaders of African Americans gathered with multiethnic, and metropolitan leaders to discuss issues around racial reconciliation, multi-ethnic ministry, and biblical justice. The speaker was Pastor Jennifer Toledo who imparted knowledge concerning the age we live in. She shared how now is the greatest opportunity to reach souls for Christ, and share testimonies across the globe on how God is gathering people unto Him.
The next day began with Dr. Efrem Smith imploring the participants to use new techniques to serve the communities in which we serve. He reminded us about the Black Church being a gift to the body of Christ and how we should rediscover it to reimagine how we do ministry today. The afternoon was filled with workshops on worship, developing leaders, and ministry in the multicultural context to name a few. The day ended with Dr. Bryan Loritts, who showed us that the greatest division in the United States is between Evangelicals and issues of race. He then provided instructions on ways to bridge the divide.
“It has been a blessing to walk this journey with Influential Global Ministries (IGM). We met for several months almost every Friday believing and knowing what God would do. As always, God did more than we could have asked or thought (Ephesians 3:20),” Bobo reflects over the two days.
Influential Global Ministries (IGM) is focused on equipping and releasing cross-cultural, reconciling, justice-oriented, and metropolitan disciple-makers through leadership development, church planting movements, and church revitalization. IGM is a separate nonprofit that partners with Midtown Covenant Church to reproduce healthy African American, multiethnic, and metropolitan churches and leaders.
For more information on IGM.
Anthony D. Bobo, Jr. (Senior Associate, The Joseph Factor Group) walks into the gym at New Chapel Baptist Church gym in Camp Springs, MD and the young men are ready for basketball workouts. He calls the young men to center court and says, “Young men! It’s great to see you all this morning! Who is going to pray us in?” Most of them look down, but one of them raises his hand and offers up a prayer. They then discuss goals, why they are important, how to set them, and each one sets three goals and shares them with the group. After the “T.A.L.K”., they go straight into their workout.
If you came to the New Chapel Baptist Church gym every Saturday morning you would find this same series of the events. This is a part of 4 Point Play, Inc. (4PP) a vision of Rev. Duane McKinney, Senior Pastor of Encounter Life Church, Hillcrest Heights, Maryland. Rev. McKinney, a sports advocate, established 4PP as he saw the need for a youth sports organization that incorporates mentoring, thought provoking action, healthy lifestyle, and community awareness.
The Joseph Factor Group partnered with 4PP to develop the mentoring piece of the program. The T.A.L.K. weekly mentoring sessions, in line with the 4PP mission to “build the mind, body, spirit and community through sports and mentorship.” These 20-minute sessions led by community inspirational leaders are guided by the following acrostic:
T- Tell- Personal sharing and stories that will engage the young men.
A- Affirm- Encourage the young men in the possible.
L- Love- God’s love is expressed in all our intentions and interactions.
K- Knowledge- Give the young men something that maybe they did not know, or a different way of looking at what they know.
“We know sports get our young men’s attention.” Bobo explains, “...but we are irresponsible if we only teach them to dribble a ball and not engage their minds to think about the community around them. The obligation they must show is to have love in community and be what God wants them to be.”
CLICK HERE for more information or to support 4PP.
THE YOUNG MEN IN ACTION!
The Black Leadership and Ministry track invites pastors and leaders who are currently engaged in the Black Church tradition to participate in education from a Black Theological perspective,” describes the Nazarene Theological Seminary website concerning one of its Doctor of Ministry tracks. “The uniqueness of the Black Church experience, exemplified in the racial injustices that continue to plague Black communities, requires theological education and scholarly analysis from a Black Theological perspective.” This is the program Anthony D. Bobo, Jr. (Senior Associate, The Joseph Factor Group) was selected to participate in.
The first “face to face” meeting of the Fall 2022 Doctor of Ministry in Black Leadership and Ministry cohort met in Kansas City, Missouri the week of September 11, 2022, on the Nazarene Theological Seminary campus. This week was filled with in class discussion on trauma and participant presentations of community trauma analysis, site visits, as well as spiritual encouragement. What a week!
The first night students had dinner with the school’s president, Jeren Rowell, and other staff. During the week, the cohort visited St. Matthew African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (Reverend Dr. Charles Wesley Thurman, Jr., Pastor, and Associate Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program) where there was a presentation by counselor Shamika Pegue who discussed Trauma Informed Church. The group also participated in a “prayer walk” where they walked the neighborhood, prayed, interacted with the neighbors, and listened to the voice of God. They also visited historic St. James Methodist Church where they spent time with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (former pastor) and his son Reverend Dr. Emanuel Cleaver, III (current pastor). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art African Art collection was visited and reflections of the group on how what they saw relates to what was learned during the week.
“I am so honored and blessed to be a part of such a theologically rich program in my context as a leader in the community,” shares Bobo. “The cohort members are amazing, the school’s credibility and openness is encouraging, and the program is challenging yet inspiring.”
We are so proud of our Senior Associate and how he continues to serve the community and further pursue academic greatness.
Click HERE to learn more about the Nazarene Theological Seminary, Doctor Of Ministry In Black Leadership And Ministry.
“We cannot do this work!” Anthony D. Bobo, Jr., Senior Associate of the Joseph Factor Group shares as he reflects on the partnership discussion experience. “God never intended for ministry to be done as a solo project, but a ministry is community of fellowship.”
On August 26, 2022, a team from Influential Global Ministries (IGM) met with the Reformed Church of America (RCA) African American Black Council (AABC) in Chicago. The AABC is the voice of African American and black congregants and congregations in the RCA. As they explore advocating for policies of inclusion and economic, social, and racial justice, AABC brought in Dr. Efrem Smith (IGM co-founder) and the IGM team to work through ideas of rediscovering the black church, reimagining ministry, and re-engaging communities. IGM focuses on equipping and releasing cross-cultural, reconciling, justice-oriented, and metropolitan disciple-makers through leadership development, church planting movements, and church revitalization.
Bobo served as lead facilitator of the session. Dr. Smith shared the Theology of Change and how God is a God of change and invited us to be His change agents here on earth. IGM Team member Jonathan Banks (Chief Operating Officer, Urban Outreach Foundation) imploded the group to engage youth. In fact, he says that “the expiration date of your church is already written by how your youth ministry looks.” Other IGM Team members Dr. Joy Johnson (Founder, Dr. Joy Johnson Ministries) and Dr. Robert Owens (Chief Executive Officer, Rivers of Life) shared their wisdom and experiences in revitalizing churches and engaging communities.
“It was a blessing to be with the AABC,” says Bobo, “to help explore a path forward in partnership, fellowship, and collaboration.”
To have the IGM Team come to visit your organization, please reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.