A City Movement

See yourself and your city in a radical way

City Summit is a movement that takes seriously the prophet’s call to seek the peace and prosperity of our city (Jer 29.7). City Summit asks the question, “What is God doing in our city and how can we join him?” Amidst the challenges that face each neighborhood in our city, we believe the residents have the answer to those challenges. What originally started as a conference to equip those engaged in Christian Community Development work has become a rallying point for a new generation to get engaged in God’s kingdom work in our city.


Gather together to tell one another the stories of God’s work in our city through the power of holistic transformation.


Invite a new generation of Christians in to the vision and history of God’s work in Fresno through Christian Community Development.


Encourage those that are currently engaged in urban ministry in Fresno and allow them a space to pass on their wisdom.


Connect individuals and organizations together to expand capacity and create a new community of kingdom workers.

We believe

that the church is the hope for change in our city

God is in the process of making all things new (Rev 21:5) and he is using his church and his people to do it. City Summit is about telling a different story of Fresno; One of hope and one of promise. City Summit is primarily for people in their 20’s and 30’s who want to explore what it might look like for them to seek the transformation of their city but older leaders participate in City Summit too as mentors and partners in the process. Whether you are new to thinking about God’s heart for the city or have been in this work for a long time you will find something of interest that will ignite your vision and resource you for what God has for you. You will hear about models of empowering action in place now in our city rather than dependency-creating strategies based on charity or hand-outs.

City Summit 2015 will be the 9th year of City Summit. City Summit was inspired by the large Christian Community Development movement and national conference. Desiring to bring the same equipping and connecting opportunity to Fresno,  a group of leaders led by Phil Skei, Randy White, H. Spees and Artie Padilla got together to shape what was originally a training event for CCD leaders. As the vision continued to grow, emerging leaders were added to the conversation and the focus of City Summit began to shift towards equipping and mobilizing a younger generation.

Come be a part of a community that is looking for the Spirit of God to ignite people across the city to join with vulnerable people in under-resourced neighborhoods to build sustainable solutions together.

How do I get involved?

We hear people say often that they want to get involved, but they do not know how… that is why we created OnRamps. OnRamps are ways that you can get connected and involved with organizations that take seriously God’s call to see his Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10). Below is a list of organizations we would recommend you check out and get connected to!

Care Fresno

While our goal remains the same, Care Fresno has entered a new era with a focus on Local Missions. Today, churches do not simply adopt a neighborhood, but we actually move Christian leaders into these communities and train them to serve their community with their whole lives.


The Center for Community Transformation

The Center for Community Transformation is working toward God’s abundant community in the Central Valley. It exists to research concentrated poverty solutions, convene leaders around those solutions and train individuals, churches and agencies in community transformation. Volunteers can get involved by supporting any of its seven core initiatives, two of which include Financial Literacy Training for low income communities and GED completion. Volunteers with journalistic skills can write features on innovative ministries for its website and publications.


Central Valley Justice Coalition

The Central Valley Justice Coalition’s mission is to empower the church and community to bring holistic and lasting change to those affected by human trafficking. The Coalition is a group of leaders from churches and organizations in the greater Fresno area who believe God has called the church to lead the way in fighting modern day slavery. We focus on prevention, mobilization, partnership and holistic care.

Phone: (559) 725-1865


City Without Orphans

The Mission of City Without Orphans is to partner and equip churches, families and service providers to help all children in the Fresno County child welfare system be placed in a loving home. Functioning as the bridge in our community, we hold free workshops on foster care and adoption and speak on tangible needs for kids in care. We have helped churches with drives for items to donate to youth in foster care, educated and recruited for CASA, provided resources of support of foster/adoptive families within our community and are working on a mentorship program.


Every Neighborhood Partnership

It is the mission of ENP to help churches holistically engage every neighborhood. THE GOAL: to see schools supported, students excel, healthy families, and a thriving community. Programs like Saturday Sports provide an opportunity to establish a presence in the community and get to know the children and their families.

Volunteers can also serve as as classroom tutors, host Community Meetings, Financial Workshops, Parenting, or English Classes. It’s all about the relationships and ENP believes that The Church has an amazing opportunity to love our neighbors and in the process make a difference in our city.


FIFUL (Pink House & FUI)

InterVarsity’s Fresno Institute for Urban Leadership (or FIFUL) offers a variety of opportunities for young adults to get involved in urban ministry, grow as a leader, and be transformed! Options range from The Pink House, which is a 10 month program (August 2014 to June 2015), to Fresno Urban Internship, which is a 6 week program (June 26, 2014-Aug. 4th, 2014), where you will live in the downtown area, serve alongside agencies, explore issues of urban poverty, racial and economic injustice, immigration and the systems and structures of a city.

Phone: (559) 492-7889



The Hub is a 10 month training for students who want to go deeper in their faith; focusing on leadership development, biblical community and urban ministry. Residents relocate into an impoverished west Fresno neighborhood. Residents learn from experienced ministry and community development practitioners. Putting new knowledge into action, residents serve at various agencies and churches, getting hands-on experience in holistic urban ministry.


The Micah Project

The Micah Project is a 10 month discipleship experience.  Participants live in community in the Micah Project apartments while exploring church and urban ministry, and growing in leadership development.


No More Slumlords

No More Slumlords is an art and multimedia campaign working to challenge the status quo of the slumlord industry that has a grasp on our city. Through the use of videos, photos, print media and social media we are creating awareness about the issue and stirring people to action. Our goal is to bring an end to the slumlord industry in Fresno. This is a complex issue that has plagued Fresno for over forty years and needs to change. If you are interested, consider joining the fight.

Phone: (559) 512-0255


Be a Sponsor for 2015

City Summit’s target audience is 20-30 year old Christians that are looking to or are actively engaged in intentional outreach in our city. If this is who you are trying to reach we would love to partner with you! Our annual City Summit event attendance has ranged from 200-400 with a larger audience on Facebook, Twitter and the web. There are a variety of sponsorship levels to meet your budget. Below is a link to our form.

Be a Sponsor

March  2015
  • In-Town Prayer Summit
    Starts:March 19, 2015 - 1:00 pm
    Ends: March 19, 2015 - 7:00 pm
    Location: Campus Bible Church, 4710 North Maple Avenue, Fresno, CA 93726, United States
    Description: Pastor Bob would like to invite you to the one day, in-town, Prayer Summit. It is on Thursday, March 19th, 9am-3pm at Campus Bible Church. See the attached for more information and to RSVP (free and lunch is provided so please RSVP).
  • Fresno City Summit 2015
    Starts:March 20, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Ends: March 22, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Location: Cornerstone Church, 1545 Fulton Street, Fresno, CA 93721, United States
    Description: 2015.fresnocitysummit.org
  • Fresno City Summit 2015
    Starts:March 20, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Ends: March 22, 2015 - 12:00 am
    Location: Cornerstone Church, 1545 Fulton Street, Fresno, CA 93721, United States
    Description: 2015.fresnocitysummit.org

Blog & Media

Kepler Neighborhood School: A Sign of Change in the City



As we look towards Fresno City Summit 2015 we wanted to let you know about the amazing transformation that is happening on the campus of Cornerstone Church where City Summit will be hosted.

God is doing something new in our city and is rebuilding what has been broken. Kepler Neighborhood School is an example of a something that has offered a new sense of hope to the future of elementary education in urban Fresno.

Kepler Neighborhood School which is currently housed on the campus of Cornerstone Church has grown up fast in its first two years. The school is very much like an elementary student: young, learning at a rapid pace, trusting, influenced greatly by it’s surroundings. But this school is different than others, just like all kids.

Kepler was birthed by Valerie Blackburn and Shiela Skibbie after years of thoughtful prayer and careful planning. Their guiding question through the past several years of planning and implementing has been: What helps children learn? Their answer has been: let’s do whatever that looks like. That means starting where individual students are in their learning and working from there.


Shiela Skibbie (left), Dr. Christine Montanez (center) & Valerie Blackburn (right)

Valerie serves as Kepler’s Curriculum and Teaching Coordinator, Dr. Christine Montanez serves as Kepler’s Principal, while Shiela serves as Vice-Principal and office manager. Valerie and Shiela came to the place of founding a charter school from different paths, but found each other along the way.

Valerie taught at Jefferson Elementary east of the Lowell School District. She then home schooled her children for 10 years before returning to the public school classroom. Something had happened in the 10 years she was out of the classroom. She didn’t like it. Teachers are now too restricted, she said. Teaching and learning were no longer a joy. It has become a chore for teachers, students and parents.

Shiela moved to Lowell in 1998 after being part of the founding group at the Pink House. Her husband, Steve, and she were involved in InterVarsity Leadership. She also lead reading and Bible clubs at the World Impact building before becoming a public school teacher in Selma. She left the classroom to stay home with her first born; returned to teaching at Valley Art and Science Academy; then chose to stay home with her second born also. That’s when she decided she wanted to start her own charter school.

Together they spent two years writing the charter for Kepler and are fast approaching the end of their second year as a charter school.

Under the charter, the focus at Kepler is on small group, project-based and service-learning from Kindergarten through Eighth grade. That means every grade level is taught more like a Kindergarten class – kids move from station to station, working on projects at their own pace with guidance from teachers. Subjects are integrated, rather than separated. It also means that teachers and students don’t work toward passing tests, they apply learning to neighborhood needs.

Each grade level has an annual theme. For example, Kepler’s 8th Grade class theme is “Extreme City Revitalization.”

Jessica Mast teaches the 8th grade class and she had a love for downtown Fresno before she decided to get into teaching. She went through the Pink House in 2010 after first living in the area for a year. She moved to the Lowell Neighborhood while she was a Youth Pastor at Onramps Church.

She loves that she gets to walk home from work and that the school has a real connection to the community that doesn’t exist in traditional schools. The school cares about downtown and the surrounding community, Jessica said. She added that Kepler exists to grow people who love Fresno. The four walls of the classroom are permeable in both directions. Students experience downtown with regular walking field trips and downtown comes to the classroom as students need.

To illustrate how small groups, projects and service-learning come together at Kepler, here is what Jessica’s 8th graders are doing throughout their final year of elementary school.
Kepler 8th graders:

study historical buildings in Fresno,
create computer models of buildings,
study their architects and purposes,
write letters to city council about what to do with the old buildings,
talk to town hall meetings about their findings,
and write a business plan for a product to sell at Peeve’s Public House.


Not only is the classroom different, affecting the student experience. But the connection to the community is much closer, also affecting the student experience. Classes take regular walking tours within a 2.5 mile radius of the school. Valerie shared that students have visited and interacted with Ivan Paz’ martial arts, CMAC, Pink House, FIFUL, World Impact, IdeaWorks, Peeve’s Public House and other businesses along the Fulton Mall. Many downtown community people also visit the school to lend guidance to students.

Jessica shared some of the story of a Lowell kid who is getting guidance at Kepler, church and neighborhood development, when he would most likely slip through the cracks of a traditional school. This particular kid comes from a family with former gang affiliations, but has chosen to break those old gang ties. But still a boy feels the pull between being a good student and the pull of the gang life.

This is a “neighborhood” school. Fresno High Schools will be lucky to get these kids who know and love Fresno. The Fresno community will be lucky to get these kids who know and love Fresno also.

This young school is growing up fast! The school-neighborhood tie is so much stronger than at a traditional school. 

It appears that if Kepler stays on it’s successful trajectory, it will meet those challenges with the same vigor, spirit and community support that helps a child be successful in life.

Come to Fresno City Summit 2015 to hear similar stories of transformation in individual lives and our institutions!

Register here.


In Anticipation of City Summit 2015




Fresno City Summit is closing in on the 2015 conference. We expect to be challenged and inspired. We’ve been planning and praying! As a part of the 2015 summit, we’ve added this blog.

We will be posting blogs regularly as we approach the summit on March 20-21. Various ministries, organizations and people will be highlighted at the summit and on the blog. Visit regularly to get a sneak peek of the summit and read about many of the amazing people that are working for the peace and prosperity of Fresno.

Coming in the following weeks are several viewpoints on Kepler Neighborhood School. Valerie Blackburn, Sheila Skibbie and Jessica Mast share their hearts and experiences as this 2nd year charter school has already outgrown their space at Cornerstone Church in downtown Fresno.

2014 City Summit Event Audio


Seeing Neighboring in New Ways: Radius Thinking Where You Live, Work, and Play
Jason Spencer & Dave Obwald



We are all about community.

We would love to hear your suggestions, comments, and/or questions. Please use the form to the right to send us a quick email and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

City Summit

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