The fundamental convictions that drive, shape, and undergird the mission and vision of Redeemer City:
The Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life it is the A to Z’s of the Christian life. It is not only the door, but the path we will journey our entire lives. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the message through which someone believes and is rescued from death to life. It is also the message that needs to be believed to bring further growth and ongoing transformation into the likeness of Jesus for the Christian. All of life is an ongoing repenting of sin and believing deeper in the Gospel message and it’s implications for life. Making disciples, means all of life being under and transformed by and through the message of the Gospel and everything we do and believe as a church is rooted in this truth. (1 Cor. 15:1-11)
Because of sin, our lives are fragmented and isolated and various divisions mark our City. The Gospel not only calls us to God, but also calls us to one another. The power of the Gospel allows us to transcend all divisions of socioeconomic, racial, and cultural lines (Eph 2:12-22) into one new family. This leads us to live lives that our integrated, not isolated from one another. This called out community serves one another and the broader City through the individual gifts in a collective whole. The second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, calls us to practice and grow in discipleship as we learn to love one another. We weren’t meant to do this life alone or just one day a week. We are called to be a true community.
When God calls his people to himself, he also sends them out. In John 20:21 Jesus says “as the Father has sent me, so now I send you.” This mission involves two things: 1) An intentional life lived in the various spheres of influence (workplace, neighborhood, marketplace, etc.) where we share the Gospel with those God has placed around us. 2) A life that is devoted to mercy that meets the tangible physical and emotional needs of those in our spheres of influence. The first is the declaration of the Gospel and the second is demonstration.
City groups serve many purposes to accomplishing our vision. First, this is where we find true community in having meals with one another, studying Scripture together, and sharing our lives. Second, this is where serving our families and neighborhood begins. Although we enjoy our lives together it is never our purpose to just stay in community, but live as the “sent out ones” that Scripture calls us to be. We love our neighborhoods. We love our City. And we seek the overall good of our city in community. Third, this is where we encourage one another to live on mission with the Gospel. It’s not just about loving, serving, and seeking the good of our city, it is about declaring the richness of the Gospel that can literally change lives. Without seeking Gospel-transformation in our social interaction with our City, we are merely applying bandaids to wounds that will never completely heal. This is why living out Gospel-transformed lives and declaring the power of the Gospel is the most important aspect of living in community. We do this with one another and when we are “going” throughout the city. (Acts 2:42-27; Romans 12)
We will not only serve each other but serve our city. We will identify local needs within our city and fill those spaces with Gospel intentionality. This will include justice, loving and caring for the people God has put in front of us, and seeking the good of our City. (Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Thes. 5:11, 14; Gal 6:2; 1 John 4:7; Rom 12:10; Mark 10:42-45; Hebrews 10:24; Jer 29:7)
We are committed to investing in the lives of people, not only to reach them with the good news of the Gospel and not only to teach them the truth of the Gospel and how to faithfully follow God, but to equip them to do this with others as well. This is based on Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV): 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
This equipping involves three crucial areas:
1. Personal Growth. We are called by the Spirit and commissioned by Jesus to make disciples of all nations. We are meant to grow in our faith and maturity by continually repenting and believing the Gospel. This includes understanding who God is, who we are, and the Full Gospel message and it’s implications for life.
2. Discovering & Developing Gifts. God has made us each in unique way so we should uncover these God designed gifts and develop them to serve the Church and our City, and the world.
3. Leadership Development. We will also commit to developing leaders so that we might have more groups amongst our City, more disciple makers, more missionaries sent into the world, and more churches planted to the glory of God. This may include internships, apprenticeships, Porterbrook Training, and Bootcamps/Conferences.
The goal of EQUIP is to create servant leaders who serve the body, our city, and the world. (Mark 10:45; Luke 10:1-3; 1 Peter 4:10, Eph 4)
Planting new churches is “the single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven.”1 When Jesus gives his followers the great commission, He sends them out to make disciples of all people and baptize them. Baptism is the incorporation of people into a worshiping community. When Paul did his missionary journeys, he went to the largest city in that region and planted a church there. For us, if we are going to see our City renewed by the Gospel we are not only going to need many new City Groups spread throughout our City, but many new churches in our City that can reach new generations, residents, and people groups and send people to them.2 This commitment to church planting locally will be linked with a vision for church planting overseas. (Matt 28:19; Acts 6:9,12)
If we are going to see our City renewed by the Gospel we will need to partner with other like-minded churches and organizations and in some instances, even churches and organizations which are not like-minded. This will begin by hosting a Church Plant Network gathering where we invite pastors and planters to think locally about how the Gospel can fill all the spaces of Madison. It will be a gathering where we train, encourage, and pray for one another. Further development and networks that will be considered would be:
- training people through Gospel-centered missional material such as Porterbrook
- partnering together to plant new churches in strategic areas of our city
- partnering with local organizations to meet social needs (homeless, hungry, orphans and widows)
Our goal, through these strategic partnerships, is to see the Gospel renew the city of Madison. (Phil 1:3-6; Ecc. 4:9-12; Prov. 27:17; Matt 18:20; Heb 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 3:9)
1 Peter Wagner, Church Planting for Greater Harvest (Regal, Glendale: 1991) 5
2 See Timothy Keller’s article, Why Plant Churches?