As we greeted our first guest and handed him a colorful bulletin, he walked into the lobby area and saw the muffins and coffee. Surprised, he proclaimed, "Whoa, a bulletin AND coffee. This is a real church!"
By no means are coffee and bulletins the mark of Christian church. Neither are seats, curtains, logos, and a good sound system. The second chapter of Acts suggests that a church must at least be dedicated to the Word of God, break bread together (AKA take the Lord's Supper), be dedicated to the fellowship (another way to say membership?), and be about prayer. Mark Dever suggests that the nine indicators of a healthy church are biblical preaching, biblical theology and strong doctrine, it lives the gospel, see conversions, is about evangelism, has membership, is disciplined, is growing disciples of Jesus, and has a plurality of elders.
Redeeming Life Church is off to a good start. We're serious about the Word of God. We break bread together every week, we are dedicated to the fellowship (although we have not yet instituted a covenant membership, but it's coming), and we pray together. We've baptized someone and will baptize another in a couple weeks. I believe our theology is sound. We are presently under the oversight of borrowed elders until we can raise up a plurality of our own elders. We pray that we'll have many opportunities to proclaim the gospel in the Salt Lake valley and beyond. We are seeking to grow closer to Jesus every day. And we really, really love Jesus.
planting a church. Risen Life Church is our supporting church. In fact, we were commissioned by this church to plant another church somewhere else in the valley. And just this last Sunday, we hosted our first evening service.
We are certainly a work in progress, but that's how we'll always be as a local church because a work in progress is what we are in Christ. Redeeming Life Church has a great team of men and women seeking to serve the Lord and grow closer to him in the process. Our lead pastor (that's me) is completely incapable of shepherding God's people without the daily help of Jesus. So I hold fast to Christ! Our House Fellowship leaders are learning and growing, but along the way they are serving like tour guides in a place they are only just becoming familiar with themselves. We're not cool. We're not well funded, although we are greatly loved and supported by Risen Life Church. We are not following the latests trends of the newest church plating book. From the outside, we probably don't look like we have it all together (because you can see from the inside, we really don't). We are a bunch of people who love Jesus, growing more like him. We want to be disciples of Jesus who make more disciples of Jesus. In fact, our goal is to simply know God better and love him more. We hope and pray that we become so filled by Christ that we spill Jesus out everywhere we go.
Soli Deo Gloria!