Posts Tagged city-positive
Below is a really well done video of Justin Anderson explaining the vision of Redemption Church, a new church being formed in the Valley as East Valley Bible Church and Praxis Church merge together. The leaders of EVBC and Praxis are good friends of mine who have shaped me and Second Mile in significant ways, and I am genuinely thrilled about the impact that this new work will have in our city.
What makes this especially unique is that almost all church mergers (like business mergers) happen in order to bail out a struggling congregation. But Redemption is the coming together of two healthy, large, financially sound churches for the sake of a bigger kingdom impact. That’s not something you see every day.
Pray for Redemption as they begin this new effort, as they work out key details, and as they go through this time of transition.
One of our core values at Second Mile is that we are city-positive, meaning that we care about the good of the whole city, not just those in our own little tribe. We want to see God bless our city and those in it, because we love our neighbors. A key passage that teaches this is found in Jeremiah 29:7 —
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Here’s a practical way to do this, referred by my friend Howard Morrison (a man who has lots of experience seeking the welfare of the community on behalf of Christ): Volunteer on one of the may State and County Boards and Commissions. There are literally hundreds of opportunities for believers to influence the trajectory of these governmental bodies that shape our community.
Here is a list of current volunteer opportunities and board vacancies.
This past weekend was a great time of extending love to our community and inviting people to the Grand Opening next Sunday.
On Saturday, we visited a number of homes nearby the location of our Sunday gatherings and invited people to join us. We met a bunch of friendly people (only a few flat out rejections) and even had a number of people say they’d check it out. It was great to see people on their turf in the place they feel most comfortable. It was also a great reminder that there are just tons of neighborhoods with people who have real needs that can only be fully satisfied in Jesus.
On Sunday, we did a Servant Evangelism Carwash. It was a cold, cloudy day so it made it a little bit challenging, but we had a good time with the team and met another group of friendly people, a good chunk of whom were even looking for a church. We love this community and getting to serve in a practical way was really fun.
God had blessed us so abundantly in Jesus and we really hope that his love overflows into this community.
Next Tuesday marks the beginning of the 2008-2009 Queen Creek Citizen Leadership Institute, sponsored by the town of Queen Creek. I’m planning to go through this program this year and learn as much as I can about my new town. I went through Gilbert’s Leadership program last year and learned so much and met so many good people that I’m excited to do this one.
Want to join me? If you think you’d like to come along with me, let me know. It would be great chance to get to know you better while we learn about our community. Just email me or leave a comment below.
On a related note…Last night I went to a mixer with the Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce just to meet some business people who care about the community. I’ve been to a few of these types of events in different settings and people are usually pretty surprised to see a pastor there or to hear about a church that actually cares about the community’s greater needs and not just the church’s needs. It’s all part of being a city-positive church that works for the greater good of the whole city (Jer 29:4-7).
As a follow up to my post on Idolatry as a Joy-Killer, I wanted to refer you to this post by my friend and fellow church planter, Chris Gonzalez. He is planting Tempe City Church, will also be part of the Acts29 Network, and is a dear brother who loves Jesus, mission, and the supremacy of God over all things.
His post, “Idols of the Heart,” has some helpful resources that you’ll want to take a look at as you seek to fight for joy in Christ.
I was recently challenged with the question, “Does the city exist for your church or does your church exist for the city?”
I think this is a great question. Ultimately it’s asking whether the church will try to use the city for its own benefit or bless the city for the good of everyone in the whole city. Our ambition is that Second Mile Church would be for the city, greater Phoenix as a whole and Gilbert, Queen Creek, Mesa, and Chandler in particular.
This means that in addition to solid Bible-teaching and loving those within our church, we work to make everyone’s lives a little bit richer and better — whether they agree with us or not. We have an attitude that seeks to give rather than receive and serve rather than take. This really is what Jesus was talking about in his Sermon on the Mount:
Let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:16)
I’m praying that God would use us to demonstrate to the southeast valley what his kingdom is like.
I had breakfast today with a fellow church planter who is beginning to work in the same general vicinity as Second Mile. I have to confess that the natural (i.e. not Spirit-led) part of me begins to think somewhat competitively rather than cooperatively. I was reminded through meeting with him that there are people that his church will reach through their network of relationships that Second Mile would never reach and vice versa. Instead of feeling insecure and threatened, I began to feel strengthened as I prayed for his new church to be as strong and healthy as I hope for Second Mile.
In Tim Keller’s wonderful article, “Why Plant Churches,” he makes the point that one of the reasons to engage in vigorous, consistent church planting is that it is an exercise in Kingdom-mindedness. He writes, “Our attitude to new church development is a test of whether our mindset is geared to our own institutional turf, or to the overall health and prosperity of the kingdom of God in the city.”
I pray that Second Mile Church would be committed to the overall good of the whole city–and this definitely includes the health and vitality of the city’s Bible-believing churches.