Tim Keller said, "Don't try to build a great church. Instead, try to build a great city, because when you have a great city you will have a great church."
That's what we're striving for with this new faith community called The Renew Community.
Just this week I realized something: I'm so humbled, honored and proud of our Renew launch team and the ways we are intentionally striving to live out the gospel every single day of the week, not just on Sundays. Sure, we're not perfect, but we're growing and its inspiring to see the way they are serving and loving and leading.
We've said over and over again that we're more interested in launching people first, before services. That we want to be known more for our sending capacity than our seating capacity.
And I believe we're catching that.
Our team is striving towards a more holistic understanding of the gospel - individually and corporately.
There's a lot brewing this month that I'm really excited about...
-People are impacting their oikos. Oikos is a Greek word that means "family, household, sphere of influence. We all live in several "neighborhoods" (i.e. geographical, vocational, social, demographic, psychographic, genealogical, etc). We're seeing unofficial connections happening, friendships that are forging and spontaneous activities and relational spaces are emerging. We're attempting to live as missionaries who are 'cleverly disguised' as businessmen and teachers and college students and engineers and stay-at-home moms. The stories emerging from people being intentional in their oikos has been so encouraging and inspiring.
-Our house churches are off to a great start. They're eating meals together, sharing their stories, exploring the Scriptures, adopting a family/school/organization where they are serving on mission at least once a month and throwing parties for their friends and neighbors at least once a month as well. So many fun stories have already emerged from these house churches - I may share some of them some time in the future...
-We're serving at least twice a week at Manna on Main (the main soup kitchen/food bank/financial assistance organization in our community) by cooking/preparing meals and/or serving meals to the under-resourced and marginalized.
-We're serving at the North Penn Boys and Girls Club in their tutoring program, weight lifting program and helping to teach leadership classes. We've helped them with a blood drive last weekend. Others are considering coaching flag football.
-The Lansdale Farmers Market continues to take form and shape. Last summer we went to the borough leaders and asked "Would a farmers market be of help to the community?" They liked the idea and a team has been working very hard with other people from the community to see a farmers market start late spring/early summer in Lansdale. We're very excited about it! The LFM graciously received a grant for $12,000 from the North Penn Community Health Foundation to help us bring fresh fruits and vegetables from local venders to promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. The LFM team holds an open to the public meeting once a month. About 50 different North Penn residents have come to one of these meetings to offer their help and their willingness to volunteer. The LFM team is constantly looking for people who would want to help serve to make this happen so if you are interested shoot us an email here.
-Every Tuesday morning a group of guys meetings at Zoto's Diner to eat, hang out and discuss three questions: (1) Where did you see God at work this week? (2) How did you join him this week? (3) How did you resist him this week? They've been great conversations as we strive to pay attention to God and learn to respond appropriately.
-We've been proposing some ideas and initiatives to borough council, the North Penn Regional Council for the Arts and the Lansdale Performing Arts Center for some ways we can help to cultivate the arts in the area. There are many artists who desire to connect with a community of artists and who long to exhibit and express their art in spaces in the commnity. We're attempting to work to see that happen. There is a lot of potential here!
On Saturday February 21 at 10 am we're hosting another Clean up day around downtown Lansdale. We're meeting at Railroad Plaza (next to the train station) to clean up the area around the Kugel Ball, Main Street and the train station as a way of serving the community to make it look clean and nice. This event is open to the public and you are more than welcome to join us!
-On Tuesday night February 24 at 7:30 we're renting out a bar and hosting an evening called Doubt Night to connect with skeptics and create space to air out our doubts, questions and thoughts regarding faith, life, Jesus, God and the Church. Should be fun! We'd love to have you a part of the conversation. Find out more information by scrolling down two posts and seeing the post below called doubt :: night. We've also created a facebook group...join us.
Other things we planning for later this spring...
-We will be hosting a Forum on Homelessness and Suburban Poverty. We will have a diverse panel of experts who work closely with homelessness and suburban poverty in the borough and in the Montgomery and Bucks counties. This will be educational and will intend to help residents in the community to know how we best address the systemic issues of poverty and homelessness in our region. Stay tuned to the website for more information.
-We will be hosting a financial seminar called Strategies for Surviving an Economic Downturn. We know the economy has been difficult for thousands of families in our area. We are bringing in my dad to teach a seminar in late March about practical ways we can work towards a more financially healthy lifestyle (reducing and getting out of debt, creating a budget, etc). We're doing this to bless the community and equip them in this difficult time.
-We will be sponsoring an Invisible Children Film Viewing and Discussion.
-Area-wide prayer walk: Prayer is important. All we do does not start with us. We never start anything new. We're are simply joining God in what he is already doing. We'll be hosting a Saturday morning time this spring to do two things: walk...and pray!
-And, Lord willing, we're looking to hold our first public corporate gathering this spring. (Stay tuned).
Exciting stuff! Again, stay tuned to the Renew site for more information as it becomes available. Oh, by the way: if you live in and around the area we would love for to join us for any and all of these things listed above.
Regardless if we know you (yet) or not. Regardless of your faith background.Regardless if you are currently involved with us at Renew or not. We would love to have you join us for any of these events. If you want to be involved just let us know. Log onto our website or contact us.