What led to the birth of the ACT3 Network?
John H. Armstrong served as a pastor for two decades before formally beginning ACT3 Network, originally called Reformation & Revival Ministries. Initially he asked four people who had been a vital part of his life and ministry to form the board of directors. The goal of this board was quite simple: to publish a quality theological journal that would serve the leadership of the church by promoting reformation and revival. This journal was published for sixteen years.
Prior to 1991 several different factors contributed to the formation of this ministry. For over a decade Dr. Armstrong led a regular pastors group in Wheaton, Illinois, called the Whitefield Ministerial Fellowship. This group had the purpose of encouraging theological and pastoral reflection and growth in relationships among local pastors. Through these meetings the idea of the quarterly journal was born. An extensive network of friendships was also built through this ministerial fellowship. These friendships eventually led to the wider ministry of Dr. Armstrong to pastors and church leaders both in Chicago, across the United States and then internationally.
Dr. Armstrong began to devote more time to equipping leaders through writing and editing. Providentially, he had received a great deal of formal training in both disciplines. With the expansion of his writing ministry more invitations to preach and lecture came to him In late 1991 Dr. Armstrong began to sense that God had opened a door for expanding a ministry of church renewal focused on leaders and churches. He sought the counsel of family, close friends, fellow pastors, and his own church leadership. Their collective counsel was that God was indeed calling him to lead the ACT3 Network. A recognition and commissioning service was held to send John into this wider ministry in May of 1992. Hands were prayerfully laid upon him in a unique service on his last Sunday as pastor.
The name of the ministry was changed in order to better reflect the growing network of churches and leaders that John has served. The name ACT3 was chosen as an acronym that stands for Advancing the Christian Tradition in the Third Millennium. The ministry evolved into a growing network as partners worked more closely with us over the last two decades.
What is the relationship of the ACT3 Network to the church?
Those who counsel and guide this ministry are answerable to various churches from across a wide spectrum of the Christian tradition. The ACT3 Network board consists of men and women who are minister and lay leaders in many different churches. Dr. Armstrong is a minister of word & sacrament in the Reformed Church in America and a member of First Reformed Church in South Holland, Illinois, and an associate member of Lutheran Church of the Master (ELCA) in Carol Stream, Illinois. The ACT3 Network exists for the church and is led by leaders of the church. It is a deeply ecumenical team that reflects the diversity of the whole church as much as possible.
What is your philosophy regarding the future?
ACT3 has never been a self-perpetuating organization but rather a mission built around the spiritual gifts of a servant of God. When John’s ministry ceases as president, which will happen in 2019, our structure will radically change. For this reason we have not invest money into property and long-range development. Presently we have an administrative assistant, a part time editor, and the salary of John H. Armstrong. (The plan is that John’s salary will end in June 2019.) We employ other part-time staff to serve on a contractual basis to accomplish tasks such as development and management. The primary work of ACT3 Network has been the teaching, writing and mentoring of John Armstrong but now it will become the formation and mission of a community of Christians from the five major streams of the visible Christian churches: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, evangelical and charismatic/Pentecostal. (Running underneath these is the contribution of “Messianic Judaism/Christianity” which we see as the first great river of the New Covenant church.) The board is currently engaged in bringing about this transformation. We seek God entirely for our future. This means that the form this network is taking now will look very different from our past. We never believed that building permanent organizations around gifted individuals should become an end goal. This has been the way many Christian ministries have left an institutional footprint in the past but we believe our new global context calls for a leaner and more focused ministry that builds through relationships and then explores how spiritual gifts can be used for the greater good of the whole church. In this we believe God called us to form The Initiative, which will be our new expression in June of 2018.
How do you handle financial matters?
We prayerfully ask God to meet our regular needs through faithful donors. We do not aggressively solicit funds but we do make our needs known discreetly and ask God to provide what we need. We have followed this philosophy from the beginning. We also resource several partners who give back to ACT3 for the work that we do with them.
We encourage churches, missions or institutions to support ACT3 unless our ministry is an established and regular resourced partner. Those who invite us to serve by speaking and teaching must cover expenses. We believe that there are “no little people” thus we believe there are “no little churches.” To make only a large, affluent church, or organization, the focus of our ministry would be a denial of our history and calling. For this reason we must encourage all who invite ACT3 to serve in their context to give support to the mission. This can be done in several ways and you are urged to inquire about this in advance.
Our Unity Factor Conversations, and occasional one-time events, may have a modest cost. Our more intense ACT3 Cohort groups, which function more like a graduate course in missiology, also charge a more substantial tuition fee. Please contact us if you have questions.
You can support ACT3 online by giving here.
How can I pray for this ministry and help it on a regular basis?
First, you should subscribe to our free email, the ACT3 Weekly. From this weekly you will receive regular links to articles on theology and social/cultural issues that have bearing on the present state of the church. In addition, you will receive prayer requests and updates on our ministry needs, events and opportunities. You can subscribe to ACT3 Weekly on our home page, by entering your email address in the field shown below:
You can also sign up to be a Prayer Partner and receive specific requests for intercession by periodic emails.
Will you help our church or ministry by speaking or partnering with us in some way?
Yes, if we believe we can actually serve your specific need as you request we will attempt to do so. You can make a request on our home page through the email feature that we have provided. The size of your church or ministry does not determine our decision. As noted above we must receive all expenses and we strongly urge you to make a generous donation to ACT3 for our service. We can explain this to you if you make request. All requests for ministry must be put in writing and addressed to us through our convenient online form. Requests will then be considered and responded to by email.
How can I reach you by mail or phone?
PO Box 88216
Carol Stream, Illinois 60188