The vision and philosophy of The Cities of Refuge - Dallas is one of restoration, a visual theme found in the in the Old Testament. The cities of refuge were designated places where someone who had accidentally killed another person could go to escape the vengeance of outraged relatives or friends. There, they could safely await trial to officially determine their guilt or innocence. They were not places to escape justice, but rather places that saw justice was done. Our goal is to set the stage for the restoration of people from bondage. Restoration includes the restoring of functioning churches where each believer does his or her part by flowing in the works that God has prepared for them to do and by fulfilling their purpose and destiny.
Our primary focus is always the restoration of the believer. Within a five-fold ministry lifestyle (prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, elders). This goal from Numbers 35, Deuteronomy 19 and Joshua 20, distinguishes eight characteristics of the cities of refuge:
- They were established by God before they were needed.
- They were available to all as well as accessible to all.
- Their gates were always open.
- They were widely advertised.
- All the cities of refuge were prominently located at high elevations so that they could be seen from great distances.
- Everyone was within a day's journey from at least one of them.
- "Whosoever" needed to flee to one of the cities was free to do so, whether or not he was an Israelite.
- The refugee was free to leave after the death of the high priest (Numbers 35:25).
With these in mind, our strategy is to help believers to become fully recognized and functioning within areas of their anointing. With this aim, believers will be releasing the anointing and ministry that God has prepared for them. The end result of this change of lifestyle is the production of works of service so that the body of Christ can be built up into maturity.
Our restoration process is NOT "authoritarian shepherding" or exercising control that takes away an individual believer's responsibility for their Christian walk. Rather it is encouraging and equipping each believer to rise to their full stature in Christ as a mature believer who discovers their own vision, purpose and destiny.
WHAT IS OUR VISION?
Proverbs 29:18 states:
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint…. (NIV)
Where there is no vision, the people perish…. (KJV)
Israel's lack vision resulted in them not seeing themselves in the land of promise. They wandered in the wilderness for 40 years resulting in getting older and eventually dying.
Having a vision from God is paramount for the abundant life but seeking His plan for that vision is necessary for it to come to pass. When a vision if of God, His plan will succeed, and the vision will be fulfilled. We are claiming the vision of RESTORATION and are committed to helping others to reach their potential succeed in living the abundant life.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 states:
Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
Another translation states this:
“…that all who read it may run with it…”
We are making our vision plain and are running with it.
I. BUILDING KINGDOM PEOPLE
The key to our vision and purpose is "building Kingdom people.” This process involves a three-stage process.
The first phase is one of PERSONAL DISCERNMENT. Every believer has an assignment, a work to accomplish or a destiny to fulfill that God has pre-ordained that we should live and walk in. (Ephesians 2:10). Many people incompatible when it comes to involvement with Christ. The Cities of Refuge - Dallas is committed to helping every believer find their "gift" or "anointing" or "ministry" that compatible. There is an arena in life that allows us to experience the abundant living that overflows into the lives of others, thereby opening an avenue to share the Gospel of Christ. This discernment is found through the exercising in seven areas: spiritual, mental, intellectual, social, physical, environment and occupation. No true discernment from the Lord can be effectively discovered unless a life is surrendered in these areas of discipline.
Restoration involves doing whatever it takes to help you discern your anointing and purpose. We will assist you in every way possible to fulfill your own personal vision and destiny.
The second phase PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. Through this discipline, we begin by helping you to develop the "gift," "anointing" or "ministry" that has been discerned. This is our process of making disciples according to Matthew 28:19-20, equipping with the necessary knowledge and tools for believers to be effective ministers. We use a holistic wellness approach in areas of spiritual, mental, intellectual, social, physical and environmental developmental principles.
This involves the five-fold ministry operating effectively within The Cities of Refuge - Dallas church: prophets to impart vision and motivation; teachers to establish sound biblical doctrine; pastors to impart the compassion and heart for people; evangelists to enthuse with a desire to see many more come into a relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and elders to serve the body of Christ with the various needs that arise. Our five-fold ministry is there to equip you for the things that you are called to do.
The third phase PERSONAL DEPLOYMENT. Releasing believers into their ministry allows them to become mature and effective in their own lives but become mentors for those who have not reached the level discernment. If a believer has a dream, desire or vision from the Lord for a particular area of ministry – e.g. counselling, children’s work, community action etc. – then The Cities of Refuge - Dallas will do what is needed to help them succeed.
II. STRENGTHEN FAMILIES
Strengthen families is crucial to the success of each individual believer as well as the church. The church is known as a family and as such, the strength of the extended family is dependent on the strength of each individual family. Our focus is to see every believer come to maturity through personal growth, thus making strong families.
III. IMPACT THE CITY
Impacting the City happens as we demonstrate our Christian life in the workplace, immediate neighborhood and with friends and family. Matthew tells us that our lifestyle principle: "We should so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven."
IV. CHANGING THE WORLD
Changing the world starts where we are located. Without affecting our own community, we will never affect the world. Jesus' commissioning of the twelve gives us the treasure map (vision and the plan) to find that treasure (unbelievers) that is most worthy to present to Christ. We are told to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and the uttermost parts of the world. Our first area has to be our local area and City (Jerusalem), next our country (Judea) and then the rest of the world. In training and releasing ministries, not everyone will stay in the immediate locale. Some will be called to go to different cities and states. Others will be called to go to different countries.
Our vision is of a hub of a wheel with spokes going out in every direction. The spokes will not be one way (out) but two-way (both in and out). We will plant six additional fellowships and groups and release upcoming seven-fold ministries to function in their anointing and gifting. We will also have input into other fellowships as God directs.
We envision The Cities of Refuge - Dallas becoming a center that will take the form of a Bible, Ministry, Education, Health and Economic Training Center. We will have the blessing of training and equipping others to further extend the Kingdom who may never be part of this particular expression of the body of Christ.
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We are a City of Refuge, an oasis of life in a land that is spiritually dry. We are a place of escape, restoration, refreshing and re-focusing. We will not define you by your past but accept you for who you are and what you may become. We will also do all in our power to help you to become God's instrument to this world, doing what He has called to you be.