Friday, March 29, 2013

For the City

Our home group is currently reading For the City: Proclaiming and Living Out the Gospel by Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter. This wasn't on my reading list, so I guess it will be a bonus ;)
It outlines the church models of Darrin Patrick's Journey Church in St. Louis and Matt Carter's Austin Stone Church in Austin. Both are well known in the church planting world. And a friend of ours recently became a campus pastor at one of the new locations for Austin Stone.
Mike had asked everyone to read the book so that we could discuss it as a group. As we look ahead to the next steps toward the church plant, we are beginning to re-cast and solidify vision and identity. Mike and I have had these discussions, as we are both in constant prayer over what the Lord has for us. But it is definitely exciting {and equally terrifying} to begin having more focused discussions with the rest of our group.
They outline their individual church planting experiences- vision, identity, successes, as well as mistakes. The cool thing is how they each became students of their cities to identify the best way to reach people with the gospel. They talk about how some churches are (just) in a city, some are (sadly) against a city, and some are (sinfully) of a city. They present the idea of what it would be like to have a church that is actually for the city.
They are not advocating a social gospel. Instead, they are advocating a church that is so centered around the gospel, that the church is motivated and mobilized to make an impact in the city for the sake of seeing people know and follow Jesus.
Can you imagine serving the needs of the city, being so attuned to the common good for the sake of the gospel, that your city would grieve if you picked up and left? If [our church] shut its doors tomorrow, would our city even know we were gone? Would the city leaders celebrate, feeling as if they had gotten rid of a nuisance? Or would the city grieve and mourn our disappearance? We want our church to be a place where Jesus is preeminent, God's presence is obvious, and there is no doubt in anyone's mind...that we love our city.
It is an easy read, and it made me think about what our story will be...and as I read through it, I felt the excitement welling up inside for what the Lord could do through us. We truly want to be a church that is for McKinney. 

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