The Pic is Manhattan in 1782 -- before Sydney Town was settled by Europeans...
OK -- It’s been 3 weeks since I have posted.
A couple of reasons for this are:
- My boss has been away, so I've been pastoring this church without the rector. (More work... )
- Family takes precedence over a Blog. (More family...)
- And I have wondered how to process these next three reasons. (More thinking...)
Here are, according to Redeemer, the next 3 reasons why New York is a crucial investment for evangelicals:
2. The pluralism factor
"Most analysts foresee an America in which the European/Anglo population becomes a smaller and less influential factor in the country, while Latinos and Asians and others become greater in numbers and power. History should teach us a lesson. America was a Protestant nation until 1880-1920, when a massive wave of immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe came, mainly through NYC. It was mainly Catholic and Jewish. WASPs in New York neither welcomed these newcomers nor sought to win them into new churches. Instead they fled the city. The newcomers eventually took power in the cultural institutions within the city. Now a third wave of immigration is coming, and NYC is again a focal point for it. Will evangelical Protestants fail the challenge again?"
3. The minority factor
"Though smaller, only LA can rival New York as a way for the Christian church to get control of America’s cultural and social future. But the Evangelical church in LA is far stronger than in New York City. While Los Angeles has several major evangelical seminaries, many organizations and institutions, and scores of mega-churches, New York City does not. Also the great majority of NYC evangelicalism is black and Hispanic. These vital churches are this largely cut off from the power and resources (financial, political, and educational) enjoyed by Anglo churches; New York Christianity is fragmented, immature and weak theologically, corporately and spiritually."
4. The spiritual revival factor
"For people who recognize the importance of sound theology for long-term viability and spiritual health, the surprising growth of Redeemer must be seen as a once in a life-time opportunity for spiritual harvesting in NYC. In less than 6 years it grew to roughly 1500 people, and it has the opportunity to grow far larger over the next 20 years. If it does, there is a possibility of planting 30 or 40 daughter churches (churches made up of Redeemer members/attendants) and 50-60 sponsored churches. That would create a permanent, widespread movement that could change the face of the city.
But Redeemer has already unearthed far more opportunities to plant new churches and ministries than it can meet. If it seeks to meet them alone, without help, it will weaken the development of our own leadership resources. That, in turn, could mean fewer new churches in the future. Therefore, we need partners."
--- Redeemer Church Planting Manual
A couple of initial thoughts:
All of this comes out of a paradigm that a lot of Sydney people may not feel the weight of. It comes from a view that God's people ought to engage with culture in a way that effects culture for the common good. The regular question asked is this: "How can followers of Christ be a counterculture for the common good?" It comes out of – amongst other places -- Jeremiah 29:7. It’s Augustine. It’s Bruce Winter’s Seek the welfare of the City. And the things you’ve just read, I believe, has been most immediately influences by James Montgomery Boice’s, Two Cities, Two Loves: Christian Responsibility in a Crumbling Culture.
I’ll be honest: I’m still trying to process the whole approach. I'm looking forward to understanding the position. And I'm in the right place to do that. I certainly do believe in 'seeking the welfare of the city' -- Christians are to be good citizens. Although I'm not sure if this means that our mission is changing the culture. I do get nervous with ideas like finding “a way for the Christian church to get control of America’s cultural and social future.” Hmmm.
I know that they are not, repeat not, advocating moral majority stuff.
Help me to understand...
Re Redeemer partners. Our Church was was initiated by Redeemer. We are proud to be a Redeemer affiliate. In many ways, we are the Redeemer vision. And, with partners, our dream is to be a church planting church here in Manhattan. There is a lot more to say about Redeemer’s place in New York. Redeemer’s leadership has a large vision. My prayer is that the leadership’s vision is shared more and more by its actual members and attendees. That’s surely the only way that 30-40 Churches can be planted!
What do you think?