The RENEW Campaign in Fall 2009 seems like only a short time ago, but a lot has happened since we first communicated the vision for the next chapter in Redeemer’s story. When I look at how fast things have moved, I realize that the reality of four neighborhood-based congregations is just around the corner.
By the middle of this coming fall our congregations will be poised to move out into the city in the neighborhoods where we work and live in a more tangible way and in a closer relationship to the city than ever before. What an exciting time to be part of this community!
As we head into the summer I want to quickly highlight some of the progress being made to ready us for this season of transition. I hope you will be encouraged as I have been.
• At their latest Huddles Meeting, Fellowship Group leaders began the process of determining their congregational affiliation.
• Lead Pastors have begun meeting with their respective elders to plan for ministry transition and pastoral oversight of their congregations.
• Lead Pastors have begun gathering with members in their neighborhoods to better understand their unique needs and get to know their prospective congregants.
• Plans are being finalized to conduct a major lay ministry training initiative utilizing the Gospel[in]Life curriculum which will be facilitated by the four Lead Pastors; we hope to equip and mobilize as many as 1000 people who will play a key role in supporting the ministry of each of the four congregations.
• Initial investigative meetings have begun for potential mid-week ministry space for the East Side.
• Investigative meetings have also begun for potential Sunday worship space for the downtown congregation.
• A 6th Sunday worship service will be added with the opening of the W83 building in January, 2012.
While all this progress points to a new Redeemer, the biggest and most important piece of the puzzle is you. And the most important place we can start is with prayer. To that end, let’s make this summer a summer of prayer. Let’s individually and collectively go to our Father and pray for ourselves, our church and our city. And let’s seek to prayerfully discern where and how God is calling us to serve congregationally.
Let me suggest some thoughts on how we should pray:
First, pray for a heart soaked in the gospel—that has a consistent posture of repenting and rejoicing—repenting from our bent toward ‘self-salvation’ efforts and the sins that so easily entangle us; instead let us rejoice in the riches of God’s grace and goodness that we have in Jesus; that says “not my will, but Yours;” that seeks God’s glory above all else.
Second, pray for a Christian community at Redeemer that genuinely and deliberately shares life together with the common experience of the gospel; that seeks to serve rather than be served; that exists in a context of the life-giving ‘one anothering’ practices of affirmation, honor, hospitality and encouragement; that is Spirit-filled and therefore models alternate and distinctive ways to live holy and generous lives.
Lastly, pray for the city; that it will experience the revitalizing life that God’s people bring to bear as they live, work and play; a city where the poor and disenfranchised experience peace, prosperity and justice; a city in which people are increasingly experiencing the wonder, beauty and reality of the gospel.
Besides encouraging you to pray individually, we’re providing an opportunity for you to pray in small groups. This summer Redeemer is going to hold a “100 Prayer Walks” challenge. We are hoping for hundreds of people to do small prayer walks all over the city. Organize your own prayer walk with 2 or more of your friends at www.redeemer.com/ summerprayer.
As we begin writing this new chapter together as a church let’s write on our hearts and practice with our lives one of our frequent worship service dismissals:
Minister: Let us go forth to serve the world as those who love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Congregants: Thanks be to God!