|As the kingdom advances, where are we going?|
Fresh Plants in the City
Tim Keller and Redeemer Presbyterian are making New York an urban church planting center.
January 1, 2005
Vincent Salonia is planting a church in Staten Island, New York. He hopes to build a base that will plant several more churches in the years to come. He's not having to do it alone. He's found a New York City church eager to assist in urban church planting. Salonia looks forward to the classes, which involve church planters from Baptist to Pentecostal, as rich times of networking and practical insight.
Redeemer Presbyterian, "one of Manhattan's most vital congregations," according to Christianity Today [12/04], started a Church Planting Center in 2001, and its phone has not stopped ringing since.
"Redeemer is talking Kingdom and doing Kingdom," says Salonia, age 52. "They're sharing resources and whatever they have. It's meant a great deal to help me realize my dream." Redeemer (www.redeemer.com) is serious about New York becoming known as a place where the gospel transforms believers into servants "until the city rejoices" at the presence of Christians. Many are partnering with Redeemer, spearheading a city-focused, church-planting movement called the Church Multiplication Alliance that spans more than a dozen denominations.
In 2005 this alliance will help launch 125 new churches across New York City and in crossroads cities internationally.
Redeemer was started in 1989 and averages 4,000 in attendance in its four Sunday services, all in rented facilities. Founding pastor Tim Keller misses few opportunities to emphasize the importance of loving and embracing the city. He often references Scripture's injunctions about the city, such as to "seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you" (Jer. 29:7, NASB).
A cultural center like New York can be changed, says Keller, if it can produce two types of new churches: churches ...