A few weeks ago I answered the question “What is a missional community?” This week I want to continue the discussion by answering another question I am frequently asked by my neighbors: “What do you mean you don’t have a Sunday service? How come?”
Here are a few reasons:
We love Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is said to be in the top five most religious cities in the country. Additionally, statistics have shown that only 5% of the 2.3 millions people that live in the city claim to be evangelical Christians; i.e. saved by grace through faith. That means that a good majority of my “religious” neighbors believe that if they live a decent life and go to church on a regular basis (some believe regular means only Christmas and Easter mass) they will spend eternity with God. Why does this matter in relation to whether or not we have a Sunday service in our current stage of the church plant? That’s a great question.
It matters because we love Pittsburgh. The last thing I wanted to do when my wife and I moved here in February ’13 was to set up shop and begin throwing Sunday events for people to come to. This would just add another “good deed” or “church function” to check off their religious duty checklist. Instead, we wanted to love them well by building relationships, sharing the gospel with them, and patiently explaining that going to church does not mean you are a Christian (faith in Christ alone means you are a Christian).
We love the Church
Another reason we didn’t begin with Sunday services is because we love Jesus’ bride, the Church. Too often when our neighbors hear the word ‘church’ they immediately think where is your building? or what time on Sundays? This sheds a huge light on the culture’s view of the church. To them, it is only an event. But to Jesus and His Word, the church is God’s chosen children, both gathered on Sundays and scattered throughout the week. And as His children we want to represent and love the church well by displaying who she is in both word (how we define the church) and deed (how we live as the church).
We love healthy growth
A final reason is because we love the way Jesus builds his church. Jesus didn’t tell his disciples to plan events, build a cathedral, or even to host small groups. His simple command was to make more disciples. Even more, Jesus’ marching orders to his crew (make more disciple-making-disciples) was, and still is, backed by his promise that He would build His church and that not even the powers of Hell would overtake it.
This is how Renaissance desires to be formed into Jesus’ church in Pittsburgh – by making more disciples while we watch Jesus build His church. And we are beyond excited to grow and launch weekly Sunday services when the time is right. We long for this day because we love to sing the Gospel to one another, pray the Gospel with one another, we love to hear the preaching of the Gospel, and we love to be sent out into the world with the Gospel.
Now that all of this is said; if you love Pittsburgh, love the Church, and you love to grow, when do you hope to launch Sunday gathered services? Check back in a few weeks for the answer to that question. But for now, know that we would love to have you visit one of our missional communities.