On Sunday 22 January we had the privilege of sending off a whole group of people to Delft. From next Sunday onwards Redeemer Delft will have their own meeting. It was a historic moment for our church. From Redeemer’s beginning we have treasured prophetic words about multiplication. For example the one about a strawberry plant, that out of The Hague shoots would go to places around and take root there. Or the one about a culture that will be transferable. And that is somehow happening now by the grace of God!
Standing on stage next to the Delft team, I felt a mix of emotions: excitement, thankfulness and a little mourning. People who have been part of the community in The Hague for short and longer seasons are moving on to Delft. This naturally means we will see each other less. But thank you for partnering in the gospel here, as Paul would say (in Philippians 1:5)! And what a joy that we will keep on partnering, but now across two cities.
For the coming Sundays the book of Nehemiah helps us to understand building church. Last Sunday, Chris highlighted the importance of prayer in hoping to see redemption coming to a place. Like Nehemiah, who heard about the broken state of Jerusalem and first sat down and prayed before he went (Nehemiah 1:4). Like us, who have prayed for multiplication for years and now see this beginning to happen. Let’s keep praying. This is only the start. Are you joining us in prayer for God to flourish and grow what he has started in The Hague and Delft (and Maastricht, Brussels, and Berlin)?
Another helpful picture from Nehemiah is the restoration of the ruined city wall. Being one church in multiple locations is like different groups of people working to repair the same wall but in different places. This means that we are part of God’s big redemption project (as every Christian) but are placed into particular communities to work that out locally. For Redeemer The Hague and Redeemer Delft we will be using the same building blocks to ‘repair the wall’ or build the church. How the actual wall will look like, here or there, might actually be somewhat different. This is because different people will put these stones together and adapt the order as it will be fitting for that city.
Why do we call it one church in multiple locations? We see a benefit in working closely together. Both in Delft and in The Hague, we will use building blocks like shared preaching, shared vision and values, shared relationship, shared oversight and shared organisational support. It is these shared building blocks that will make us one church in multiple locations, one church with multiple congregations. The shared oversight and support means that the team in Delft can give all energy and attention to people rather than organisation. They don’t have to reinvent all the administrative wheels. This will benefit mission!
With Redeemer Delft on the go and teams beginning to take shape for the other cities, you might wonder: what’s up for Redeemer The Hague? In The Hague, we just launched the new life group season. In a growing church one question is asked often: how do we grow deep as well as in numbers? Jesus’ example tells us that following him is about walking with God and with others. And actually, that it is essential to have people around you with whom you work out what it means to live by faith. We have asked you to join or recommit to one of our small groups (we call them life groups). Many new groups have started, some of which with a particular mission or theme, and generally the groups are smaller than before. We hope this makes it easier to get to know everyone in your group! Have you already signed up to one?
In the coming weeks, we will let you know about opportunities to join outreach events in the city. Next to that the Alpha Course has just started again with a well-attended launch party. And we would still love to start a second Sunday morning meeting in the Nieuwe Kerk at some point. As you see, there is much going on in Redeemer The Hague!