Thursday, July 09, 2009

A New Congregation for a New Kind of City.

God has placed urban ministry on our hearts. That is (in part) why Dr Laurel and I went to New York City, and why we came to York Street Anglican. Sydney is changing, and the city is coming alive again with new residents. Have you got your mind around Barangaroo yet?

Here is a key to Urban Ministry, as I see it: We follow the seams of friendships in the workplace and in Apartment blocks. That's it. We follow the seams, make friends, show hospitality, and "God shows up" (to quote Andrew Heard). And God does good things.

At York Street, we have a new opportunity: We have a central city space, willing hearts, and an actual key to a large, stunning building not currently being used in the evening.

So we seek God’s will in planting a new Evening Congregation: a new community, and a new kind of church reaching a new kind of city. And in partnership with other churches who preach Christ.

We want God in all of this. We want rigorous prayer. We do not want to simply ‘plan’ and ‘get a roster in place’. Instead we want to truly seek the face of the Lord, and follow his Spirit. Maybe he is not in the project. And we want to find that out.

  • We begin gathering a small core from Sunday August 2.
  • No more than 20/30 people (at first), and no less than 2/3 (Dr Laurel and I are in).
  • We meet (probably) from 4PM-5:30PM on Sundays, with dinner in the city afterwards.
  • You will need to be first Christ's. And then keen, humble , unangry, and passionate to see the lost won and the city transformed.
  • If you are not already at York Street Anglican, then we'd be keen for a reference of good will (verbal or written) from a minister.
  • If you are already at York Street, then you will need to come to the morning as well in 2009.
  • You will need to fit with the team as God provides. (We want a un-homogeneous group, and so we will say no to people after prayer!)
  • You live in an area close enough so that you can bring your friends to church.
  • Perhaps each person will need provide $200 upfront for dinners until November (meaning that we will be freed up from paying from week to week.)

The team meets until we believe God wants us to plant.

1st Sunday of the month: We beg God to move and act by his Spirit. We ask him to cause deep repentance. We sing and take joy in Jesus.

2nd Sunday of the month: We argue and eat and discuss the best way forward. Lots of sticky notes and whiteboards. We will probably work from the Redeemer Presbyterian Planting Manuel -- their song sheet is the probably best for urban contextualizing, I'd say. And it's the one I know. Each person to get a copy.

3rd Sunday of the month: Perhaps we go to the Church Building, and do church in a way we pray is good for our friends. Just us. Or maybe our friends join us and help us. Redeemer call their services 'Evangelistic Worship'. Maybe not the best name, but the idea is strong.

4th Sunday of the month: We visit other churches on this Sunday, looking for the best in them. Many of us are good at critiquing, and we need discernment. But we need also to discern what is good and right and pure about what other churches do. We will go as a group to other churches, coming back full of joy to share what we learn.

Then back to the BEGGING (First Sunday...)

We begin meeting in a few weeks.

Sunday August the 2nd.

Three ways you can be a part of it:
  • EMAIL me if you think God is leading you to plan with us, and we will talk.
  • EMAIL me if you simply want updates for your prayers, and I will email you.
  • Send THIS LINK to people who may be interested.
Who knows what God has planned? But we are keen to find out.

Pic on Flickr by Idle_Type.


Craig said...

Well done mate, this is very exciting, very much needed!

Sam said...

Exciting news Justin. Stoked to see God at work in Sydney York. :) Will pray for the right crew!

Sam said...

If you are not already at York Street Anglican, then we'd be keen for a reference of good will (verbal or written) from a minister.


Al Bain said...

Justin. This is very helpful to read. Thanks for the post.

As an aside. I have a friend who lives in inner Sydney and who has experienced life in other big cities too. He thinks that Sydney is less like New York and more like Paris.

I have no idea whether he's right. Have you thought about it? Is there anything we can learn from Parisian planters that could speak to us here?

Mark said...

Wow. Plans are finally afoot! Excellent to hear the news. Praying that God will bless you guys in this venture!

Justin said...

@Al Bain --

Yeah, my friend Jon thinks that too. I've never been to Paris. But I'm absolutely sure that NYC and Sydney are different. The helpful think about the Redeemer stuff is that it is all about contextualisation. They don't assume that anywhere is like NYC, but they do 'get' urban.


David Ould said...

Moff, would love you to come visit us one Sunday evening. We need your team's discernment as we're asking the same questions here just over the harbour.

Anonymous said...

Hey Justin,

I'd love to join!

Little far away, though. ;)

Saludos desde Chile.

Sam Lago

Chris Little said...

Sounds exciting. Go for it, & God bless.

Mike W said...

Sounds good, look forward to updates