The past year has been an extraordinary experience for me. I knew that I loved New York before I moved here, but admittedly I knew that only through the lens of a tourist. While clearly still not a seasoned New Yorker, I could not be more taken by the place and energized by it. What a thrill to live here and get to do gospel ministry in this context! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities I’ve had to meet so many of you and minister alongside of you.
As I assume the mantle of responsibility as the Lead Pastor of the East Side congregation, I’m especially aware of the importance of seeing ministry as a partnership. As the body of Christ, the church is an organism of people whom the Spirit has brought together for his gospel purposes. The active participation of each one of us is essential for the body to function as it should. When a part of our physical body doesn’t function as designed, the body is disabled.
Something similar is at stake spiritually with the body of Christ. As a pastor, I suppose I’ve always believed this to be true, but I’ve never sensed as acutely I do now the indispensable nature of this great biblical truth. For those of you who will be part of the East Side congregation, thank you in advance for embracing this ideal with fresh zeal. Your partnership means everything to me and, more importantly, it will mean everything in terms of the future of this church. Thank you also for praying that Jesus would be pleased to continue to build his church here in New York through us that this great city and its inhabitants might experience renewal.
Redeemer’s East Side worship site will become a distinct congregation on Sunday, October 2. With this, the process of transitioning from one to four congregations will officially be underway. A day we as a church have anticipated for so long is finally beginning to unfold as a reality. It’s a day I’ve been looking forward to ever since my family and I moved to New York City a year ago.
The first effects of this “congregationalizing” is that there will be a closer connection between the congregation and the lead pastor, which on the East side will be me. Although Tim will continue to preach as much as he ever did, I will be the worship leader and preach on the days he is elsewhere. I will also be meeting with those of you who need to talk to a pastor, want to become more involved, and have ideas for outreach and service on the East side.
As Redeemer East Side becomes a distinct congregation on October 2, it will be a day of dedication and celebration for all of Redeemer, not just the East Side. In each of the worship services we will pray for the East Side congregation and the congregations that will be established on the West Side and Downtown in 2012. Both the morning and evening services on the East Side will be especially dedicated to the occasion. A special reception will follow both the 10:30AM & 6:00PM services.