Location for Labs for all congregations: New W83 Building (150 W. 83rd Street)

East Side
Saturday, March 3
9am - 1pm
West Side
Saturday, February 25
9am - 2pm
Saturday, March 3
2pm - 6pm

Catalyst is a nine-week initiative that will help equip you for ministry in your congregation
and its urban context. It is a critical part of our transition, not just in becoming multiple
congregations, but in becoming a movement for the city. During the nine weeks, you will:

meet key people in your new congregation

engage with Redeemer's theology of ministry through Gospel in Life

innovate new ways for your congregation to do ministry in the city.

Catalyst Night Locations by Congregation

East Side
Park Avenue Christian Church
1010 Park Ave
West Side*
4th Universalist
160 Central Park West

* Oct 26 & Nov 9 is at Ethical Culture
Our Lady of Pompeii
25 Carmine St

Catalyst Lab Information by Congregation

Location for all congregations: New W83 Building (150 W. 83rd Street)

East Side
Saturday, February 11
9am - 1pm
West Side
Saturday, February 4
9am - 2pm
Saturday, February 11
2pm - 6pm


What is the commitment?

Because our time together will be so critical, you will need to commit to 7 of the 9 weeks to participate. There is a $15 suggested donation for the cost of materials. Each week we will engage with one aspect of Redeemer's theology of ministry.

How can my Fellowship Group get involved?

There are two ways to do that. First, you can join your congregation's Catalyst Night as a group. Simply:

  1. Affiliate with a congregation on the FG site
  2. Indicate that you would like to join the Catalyst Night
  3. Participate in the Catalyst Lab on Saturday, January 7, 2012.
Or, if your FG can't make the Catalyst Night, you can become a Catalyst Group. Simply:
  1. Affiliate with a congregation on the FG site
  2. Indicate that you would like to be a Catalyst Group
  3. Use Gospel in Life over the eight weeks and “Open” your group to receive newcomers
  4. Participate in the Catalyst Lab on Saturday, January 7, 2012.

How do I join a Catalyst Group?

In September you will see a map of Catalyst Groups throughout the city. You can join a group near you then.

Hear what people are saying about Gospel [in] Life.

Abby said: "Having been attending Redeemer for 7 years, a member for 3 and an active leader in a variety of roles - I have found the Gospel in Life course ... to be heart-challenging and extremely beneficial - specifically in the area of casting a Kingdom vision for the city and Redeemer ... Even though I have been deeply committed to Redeemer over the years, it's been extremely helpful to have a defined course that outlines the Redeemer DNA. We may hear it all over the years in sermons, Leaders @ 7 and various other lay-leadership trainings, but it makes a difference to have an official class."

Eric said: "The content of the material for the course is wonderful. The Gospel centered teaching is definitely a theme throughout each chapter. The teaching (Gospel balanced teaching) that Redeemer communicates is VERY special and unique. I wish the churches that I was part of growing up focused on the Gospel. Unfortunately, they did not. The Gospel message has been lost. The movement to center teaching around the good news is essential!! I'm headed home this summer to raise support for my ministry. I've purchased the GIL 'kit' for my family, friends and fellow church members. I'm going to teach the course while I'm home. I'm excited to share this special teaching with everyone."

Sam said: "I feel like I was spiritually fed. I learned and relearned some of Redeemer's core message and teaching. I grasped a better view of the Gospel and what it does to my heart. This whole teaching series was like watching my soul in a mirror to help me in this process of sanctification."

The Lay Ministry Dynamic

August 2011
by Tim Keller

The growth of a big passive ‘middle’ happens to all churches as they grow larger. This growth in passivity weakens what I will call the “lay ministry dynamic.” That dynamic happens when a significant percentage of Christians engage in lay ministry “behaviors” because they are trained and coached—informally and personally—by the pastors and staff of the church. These lay ministry behaviors result in many new people, including many people without faith, being brought by Christian friends into the services and life of the church community. 

I believe that it is in the collegiate model, in which congregations are led by lead pastors and their pastoral teams, that Redeemer has an opportunity to renew and strengthen that lay ministry dynamic. The highest priority is to again draw a significant percentage of church members into active ministry of the gospel with their relationships in the city. At the heart of the RENEW Campaign, we said that we were sending our lay people out into their neighborhoods to serve and reach their friends for Christ. We are reorganizing Redeemer into a network of neighborhood-based, generative congregations. Outreach and evangelism is on the front burner in this model, as is lay-driven ministry and evangelism. Redeemer began more as a “go and share” church, but evolved into more of a “come and see” church—come and hear the music, come see the masses of people, come listen to the teaching, come profit from the programs. Now we are going back from “come and see” to “go and share.” 

Here are some examples of the kind of ‘lay ministry’ we want our people to be doing:

  • Catherine prays for her friend Megan for months. Megan responds well to two short books on Christian subjects that Catherine has given her. Finally she invites and takes Megan to an evangelistic event in which Christian truth is presented. On the way home she fields Megan’s questions.
  • Jack and Jill help their two sons, age 5 and 7, to do Scripture memory and learn a simple catechism. They field questions and help the boys understand what the texts mean.
  • Fred has been going to a small group for months. At one point he realizes that he assesses the value of the group strictly on what he gets out of it. Instead, he begins to go each week by preparing well (studying the passage) and praying for the group. When he comes, he looks for every opportunity to help the Bible study leader by making good contributions, and for ways to speak the truth in love so that others are encouraged and helped to grow.
  • Jim and Cynthia are both artists and are part of city wide Christian artists’ fellowship that is based in their local church. The fellowship is usually a discussion of the relationship of faith to art that assumes a Christian belief, but the artists have four events a year that will be either a gallery showing or a book event in which some very respectable artist gets a chance to talk about how his or her faith relates to their art to a general audience. Jim and Cynthia are very diligent in bringing non-Christian artists or art-appreciators to these events.

Notice that not all of these examples are directly evangelistic. Some are instances of the encouragement and building up of new believers, some are ways of spurring Christians on to greater growth in Christ, and others are cases of helping believers address particular problems in their lives. Nevertheless, each example is every-member-gospel ministry. That is, each example is a) organic—it is ministry that happens spontaneously, outside the organized programs of the church (even when making use of formal programs). b) Relational—it is ministry using informal, personal relationships. c) Word deploying—it is ministry of prayerfully bringing the Bible and gospel into connection with people’s lives. d) Active, not passive. Each person in these examples assumes personal responsibility for being a producer rather than only a consumer of ministry. For example, even though Fred continues to come to the small group as he always has, his mindset changed and he transformed from being a passive consumer of ministry to an active producer of ministry. Yes, direct evangelistic ministry is only one piece of this, but it will grow as every member Word ministry grows.

Lay Ministry Behaviors

Above is a set of brief case studies. Here is a more distilled set of what we will call “lay ministry behaviors.” This is not the same as ‘lay leadership’ in which your leaders have a job or responsibility in the church. It’s possible to have a duty as a volunteer but not contribute to every-member-gospel ministry. That consists of behaviors like the following. Notice that seven out of ten do not require as much knowledge as courage and compassion. Your lay people will carry them out if they feel empowered to do so through pastoral contact.

  1. Let others know of your Christian faith and activities in natural ways (e.g. talking casually about church attendance and events).
  2. Ask questions about other people’s beliefs and experiences with faith and church and simply listen appreciatively and sympathetically.
  3. Describe briefly and naturally how you process some difficult personal problem—some misfortune or some mistreatment—by using your faith to help you get strength or grant forgiveness. 
  4. Offer to pray regularly for a friend, neighbor, or colleague who is facing a challenging situation.
  5. Share your spiritual ‘narrative’—your testimony of Christian experience. 
  6. Offer books or recordings about Christian issues and discuss them.
  7. Initiate a discussion about a friends’ biggest problem or objection to Christianity. 
  8. Invite friends to venues where they meet believers but don’t listen to gospel communication. 
  9. Offer and then read a part of the Bible together—preferably one of the gospels—to discuss the character of Jesus.
  10. Invite friends to venues where they hear the gospel communicated. (#8 may be more intense/demanding for the Christian than #9, but for many non-believers, #8 is less intense/demanding than #9—going to some Christian event.) 
  11. Share the basics of the Christian faith with your friend, lay out how to become a Christian, and invite them to make a commitment.

When 15-30% of a congregation’s lay people are engaged in this kind of ‘lay ministry,’ this organic, relational, lay gospel ministry, it creates a powerful dynamism that infuses the whole church. Encouraging and supporting lay ministry of this nature is crucial for us as we launch the four Redeemers. 

The Catalyst event below is a great way to equip yourself for every-member-gospel ministry I encourage every Redeemer attender to participate.

Look for information at redeemer.com in September on how to get involved in this vital new initiative. Catalyst is designed to equip Redeemer members and attenders for contextual ministry in the city. Participants, led by their Lead Pastors, will join others in their congregation to engage with Redeemer's theology of ministry through the Gospel [in] Life curriculum and innovate new ways for their congregation to do ministry in the city. It is our prayer that Catalyst will inspire hundreds of people from each of our congregations to do richer, broader and intentionally creative lay ministry for the city.