Two weeks ago, I wrote how integrating community and mission in community groups requires a commitment to one another.
It also requires a commitment to planting new community groups.
Our goal at Redeemer has never been to grow a meeting numerically. It’s pretty easy to draw a crowd if you find the right mix of music, marketing, and personnel. But it takes the power of the gospel to build a community of believers that are living their “ordinary lives with gospel intentionality”. This is the growth we want to see as a church. Where people integrate the gospel into all of their lives. Where they grow as disciples of Jesus on Sundays as well as day to day.
As a church, one of the questions we’ve had to work through is how we can get non-Christians and new Christians to observe the difference Jesus makes. How can we show that we don’t just gather on a Sunday but we believe the gospel truly transforms all of life? How can we help people see that a Christian’s life is one of repentance and growth? How can we multiply our Christian presence in Arlington and DC?
Our Sunday gathering is certainly a context for this. But we think one of the best ways to do this is by multiplying opportunities for people to both see and participate in this type of community.
In other words, we see planting new community groups as a main way that we are trying to reach the city with the gospel. In these groups, new people are able to observe authentic (notice I didn’t say perfect!) Christian community. And they get to see it done by people that live in their neighborhoods and go to the same gyms, restaurants, and parks. People who they see every day.
Our hope is that we will reach the neighborhoods of Arlington and DC as we create more and more community groups where people are living out the gospel.
There are over 60 neighborhoods in Arlington and over 70 in DC. Imagine the effect if each of those had a group of Christians committed to eating, learning to love another and grow in gospel integration?
Next week, I’ll talk about one of the biggest challenges to this vision.