If you’ve been part of Redeemer for any length of time you probably realize two things: 1) we are incredibly blessed with pastors, staff, leaders and congregants who want to see our vision realized “to renew NYC socially, spiritually and culturally through a movement of the gospel” and 2) the vision God has called our church to can feel a little overwhelming at times.
Multiplying our church into neighborhood-based congregations with four new Lead Pastors will be instrumental in positioning Redeemer to move out into the city in a deeper and more meaningful way than ever before. And while we originally set out to have three congregations and three Lead Pastors, the Session felt strongly that God was leading us to have four. So naturally on the heels of announcing the four Lead Pastors a lot of questions were raised both about the change from three to four, but also about when changes will affect the attendee. Questions have come from staff, leaders, members and attendees, with most expressing a desire to know what each person should do next.
First, some things you don’t need to do. You don’t need to pick a congregation or align with a particular Lead Pastor yet. While we want everyone to eventually find a congregation they call their own, we are not at that place at this point in time. And when we do ask congregants to put their roots down it will be up to you where you decide to attend and why. We realize this is a complex issue and will work differently for each person based on a number of factors.
Second, you don’t need to change your role within a particular area of service. As the four congregations solidify there will eventually be changes to the way some ministries function and how you will serve, but any such changes are still months away and in the meantime we need everyone to continue serving in their current capacity.
So what should you do next?
We have always been a church that embraces the city and believes we are called by God to be here living out the gospel everyday in our work, in our relationships and in service. Now more than ever we need to be intentional about letting the gospel affect every part of our lives so that our decisions are based on our mission rather than our personal preferences.
Allow God to direct your next steps.
Since this will mean some difficult decisions regarding which congregation you will ultimately commit to, begin to seek out God’s direction now. Look at all the possibilities that will come from this new chapter in our church with an open mind and a willing heart. This gives us confidence and assurance that God will align us in the best possible manner to bring his glory to bear on the city.
Nothing will be more important than your prayers. Prayer releases the power of God into the world and we can be confident that when we unite in prayer God will do amazing things through our church. At the top of the list, we need your support in prayer about how we as a body make the many steps ahead of us in the unified, selfless manner of servants working to renew this city that God has called us to.
In the months ahead we anticipate significant progress will be made regarding how the congregations will form and launch. Since early in the year both the Session and a task force of staff and elders has been meeting regularly to formulate the next steps needed to ready us for a formal launch sometime in the second half of 2011. This fall and into the New Year there will be events and venues for RENEW plans to be presented and for congregants to be involved in working out the best solutions to the challenges of this transition.
Our church needs you to be a part of this exciting time in our history by attending key events as they as they come up. The first such event is September 22nd when we will hold a special Covenant Renewal service to commission our new lead pastors. Please mark your calendar now to be in attendance on this special night. Various teams will be formed in the coming months and your involvement is critical to the success of this plan. When we look back at how God has cared for us over 20 years to bring us to this point, it is clear that he is working to bring about his plans for Redeemer in NYC. We then look forward with anticipation and trust that what comes next will exceed what we could ask for or expect.