Redeemer is Multiplying!
In recent months, we have spoken much about the call of God on Redeemer to multiply. We need to think bigger than simply one church with one Sunday meeting in the centre of The Hague.
This is the first in a series of blog entries on what ‘multiplication’ means for us in Redeemer.
God has been so graceful to us these last 5.5 years of Redeemer’s existence. We have seen people becoming Christians, lives being transformed by the Gospel, a vibrant, diverse and growing community coming together, and a fantastic church beginning to be established.
We want to play our role fulfilling the ‘Great Commission’ that Jesus gave his disciples (and all Christians!) in Matthew 28 v16-20. The best way that we can see this happening is by starting new churches in cities to which God calls us.
Redeemer is moving towards three clear applications of multiplication in this next season. We are pursuing the possibility of having two meetings in the Nieuwe Kerk on a Sunday morning, we are starting a new church in Delft, and we are in the early stages of preparing for a church ‘plant’ into Brussels.
We will be sharing much more information about the new church in the coming weeks but here are three ‘Q and A’s’ to get you started…
Shouldn’t we rather strengthen and fill the existing churches first rather than planting more churches / venues in places where there are other churches?
Answer 1: New churches are the best way to reach new generations, new residents in cities, and new people groups. Studies show that newer churches attract these new groups 5x’s better and faster than older churches do. This is because new churches have the following advantages over old churches:
- – They are generally more orientated to grow through reaching the lost.
- – The tapestry of relationships is looser, less cliquey, and consequentially easier for newcomers to make friends.
- – There is a greater need for leadership/serving positions to be filled.
- – There are no traditions and so they can easily experiment.
Answer 2: New churches are a highly effective way to help revitalize older churches and help the overall body of Christ by showcasing new ministry forms and ideas that would not have been adopted in older churches. New churches help create an ‘it can be done’ mind-set in older churches. Furthermore, they help provide new converts in the city that find their way to older churches.
Answer 3: Some churches are beyond the point of re-invigoration and therefore it is unwise to use resources to ‘strengthen and fill them’. New wine in old wineskins usually splits the old wineskin, not blesses it.
Answer 4: New churches help older churches check their motives and renew their commitment to reaching unbelievers rather than worrying about whether some of their believers might relocate to the new church. When we are short of people who are not Christians in the world, then churches can start being competitive.
Answer 5: More localities and styles of church means more hooks in the water to catch fish.
(Note: Thank you to PJ Smyth for helping to shape these answers!)
Does this mean older churches don’t have a place?
Not at all. But it is a provocation for older churches to continuously reinvent themselves, either through planting, or through a continuous and rigorous commitment to gospel-centric, missional living.
As Redeemer starts churches in new places, our desire is to be a blessing to other churches already in those places. We are only ever a part of God’s church, and therefore only a part of what he is doing in any one place at one time. One day we will be ‘an older church’ and another new church will be starting close to where we already meet. I hope in that day, we will be a blessing and encouragement to them.
Also, we have no desire to ‘steal’ Christians from other churches. Our main focus has and always will be reaching people who are currently far away from God.
If Redeemer is starting churches in other cities, does this mean that our work in The Hague is done?
No! Not by a long shot! As long as people in The Hague are living without Jesus, and kids are growing up in broken families, and people are going to bed hungry, and marriages are breaking up, and women are caught in the grip of sexual exploitation, and people are lonely and isolated, etc. etc… Redeemer’s work will not be done in this city. In fact, the work for Redeemer in The Hague is just beginning.
The future for Redeemer in The Hague is an exciting adventure of learning to better share and live out the Gospel in this great city.