Redeemer has had twenty great years in which the flow of our ministry could be characterized by the phrase “Come and See.” Come and listen to the teaching and music. Come and be in all the great programs, led by talented staff.
Now, however, we are entering a new season, that, God-willing, will last much longer than 20 years. Our ministry will now be “Go and Share.” Redeemer is going to try to systematically impart what theological and ministry wisdom we have to our people and empower them so that, instead of only inviting people in to hear teaching, they will in the power of the Spirit go out into their neighborhoods to love and winsomely share the Biblical gospel themselves.
It means a culture of training such as we have never seen before at Redeemer. It means coming to grips with one of the most radical aspects of Biblical teaching, that every single believer is a prophet, a priest, and a king, not just a bringer and attendee. According to Jesus, “the least” Christian is endowed with the Spirit and is “greater than John the Baptist.” (Matt 11:9-11) It also means raising up a new generation of pastor-leaders. The vision is for a family of 8-12 sister churches-covering Manhattan—ministering in their communities.
In June we named four pastors, David Bisgrove, John Lin, Scott Sauls, and Leo Schuster, each to lead one of the four neighborhood-based congregations we are going to form in the west side, the east side, and the southern part of Manhattan. Each pastor will share the preaching with me in that congregation, and will supervise many of the staff who minister at that location. Each congregation will focus on serving and reaching a particular neighborhood and multiplying small groups, believers, and ministry in that place. (Members do not have to live in a particular congregation’s ministry area in order to worship and serve in it, but they have to embrace the church’s mission to that neighborhood.)
My role will be to continue preaching for the coming years as many weeks and as often as before, while serving as Senior Pastor of the whole network and mentor-coach of the pastors of the congregation. The team of pastors we will form will be the basis for close cooperation in the future years when these congregations will become churches in their own right who work together to serve the city.
On a personal note, Kathy and I are more enthused and committed to Redeemer’s ministry than ever. In many ways, Redeemer’s most fruitful ministry years are still ahead of us. Let’s thank God for putting us all in this great place and moment. You can begin to do this by being present for a special time of renewal, commitment, and celebration as we move ahead with our plans to become four congregations. We will be praying especially for the four pastors and also for ourselves. I hope to see you Wednesday night, September 22 for this special service of renewal and celebration.
A SERVICE OF RENEWAL & COMMISSIONING
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at The Hammerstein Ballroom, 8th Ave. & West 34th St.
6:00 PM: Meet and talk with others from your neighborhood (Light Food & Drinks provided)
7:00 PM: Worship and Commissioning of Lead Pastors