Over the course of life, most of us spend about

100,000 hours at work.

The City Gates Initiative is helping followers of Jesus redeem every hour for the Kingdom.

a strong purpose

The City Gates Initiative is built on the conviction that Billy Graham and other Christian leaders were hearing from God when they projected that His next great movement would be led by Christians in the marketplace. We are making Christians aware of the movement that is already underway, and we are helping reveal their role in it. We are awakening these Jesus-followers to their godly calling and are preparing them to infuse the presence of Christ into their diverse geographic, demographic and cultural settings – restoring lives, organizations and communities back to God.

a unique mission

Through the City Gates Initiative, Ashland Theological Seminary is committed to being a leading national mobilizer of marketplace-Christians into God’s movement within the business, government, media, arts and entertainment, science and medicine, education, Social/NGO services and family sectors of society. While Ashland Theological Seminary continues to prepare Church leaders through its other core programs, the City Gates Initiative acts on our expanding vision to prepare people for ministry in all significant sectors of cultural influence.


Why is this movement called the “City Gates Initiative?” The gates of an ancient city served as much more than points of entry. They were the places in the city where elements of


intermingled to create and reflect the unique culture of the city. We realize what a great metaphor these city gates are for the interplay of influences that define a person and a community. The "gates" of life are where our basic, personal, compelling character is integrated. These city gates are also symbolic of the defining dynamics that come together to shape the values and identity of a community. Our initiative is for people who are called to represent Jesus among those gates.

four points of engagement

Due to the diverse levels of awareness, commitment and capacity among marketplace-Christians, it is important that we provide a number of points of entry into the marketplace movement.

The City Gates Initiative facilitates an integrated continuum of learning, depth and experience that allows participants to progress and remain rooted in the greater marketplace movement.

At the same time, we help participants connect with people and resources that embolden them to answer their godly calling within the marketplace, over the long term. The City Gates Initiative offers four distinct, yet related, facets through which marketplace-Christians can engage. Individuals are welcome to participate in one, some or all of these elements, based on their individual needs and place in life:



The City Gates Conference is an annual, one-day conference, bringing together a large cross section of marketplace-Christians to gain a mutual understanding and appreciation of God’s presence in the marketplace. Conferences will be content-rich with worship, multiple high-impact presenters, breakout sessions and small group experiences.



City Gates Cohorts are community-based and follow a multi-session format that activates participants in their marketplace role, calling and community. Cohorts will incorporate globally recognized experts, scriptural teaching, storytelling, experiential life-application and relational interaction as tools for infusion of Jesus-inspired values.



City Gates Collectives are occasional gatherings for conversation, learning and awareness on singular, time- and context-relevant topics and issues. Collectives are led by recognized experts and are to be highly conversational, open and interactive.



City Gates Communities are ongoing small group gatherings of sector-specific individuals in shared geographic communities for the purpose of higher levels of accountability, engagement, collaboration and spiritual stewardship of their sector.

The Church may be bleeding, but she isn’t dying. God has simply pricked her heart so that her blood might flow out into the




of the city where the world is waiting for new life.

a dynamic approach

Expanded Awareness

City Gates broadens and deepens awareness of God’s developing movement in the marketplace so that His followers can understand it, embrace it, prepare for it and join it.


Realized Significance

In order to fully realize the potency of Christian influence in the marketplace, City Gates renews a sense of the biblical value of work, the significance of the workplace and the confidence of those in it.



Through focus, information, practice and accountability, City Gates infuses marketplace-Christians with the values that Jesus modeled, so they can go on to infuse their own contexts with those values.



City Gates initiates specific measures to help marketplace-Christians holistically integrate personal, work, spiritual and community facets of life so they live the values of Jesus with consistency and integrity.


Relational Community

City Gates brings marketplace-Christians together for conversation and relationship with one another. This builds trust, cultivates boldness of purpose and creates a webbing of influence that leads to shared stewardship of entire communities for the common good.

an expanding presence

We believe that Ashland Theological Seminary has earned critical credibility and rapport with communities in which our centers are located. The City Gates Initiative will focus on the geographic locations where ATS has a physical presence and will expand as needed. While these locations will have local interfaces and nuances that reflect their unique culture and constituents, they will experience a sense of community as they share commitment to, and engagement in, a shared movement.

a vital framework


Must have adaptable interfaces that properly address unique cultural elements of each group/location. Has to have local stakeholders. Recruitment and sustenance must happen locally.



Has to be easily reproduced and proliferated among multiple communities as opportunities arise. Should leverage online media and other technologies without compromising human and spiritual touch.



To include seasoned professionals, upcoming professionals and undergraduate/graduate students who are preparing for careers in the marketplace.



Must adapt to various sizes of groups. Must effectively leverage resources to minimize cost to participants while maximizing impact.