Since we announced our plans to start a new church, Katie and I have gotten a lot of questions about what this new church will be like. Do we have a building? When will we start Sunday services?
An important thing to know about a church is that a church isn’t a building or an event. A church is a people. For the Christian, a church isn’t something you go to, rather it’s something you are.
So while building a church includes details like finding meeting spaces and gathering for worship, it’s so much more than that!
Right now we are honing our strategy and building a team to accomplish the task. Our goal is to build a network of Christ-honoring, disciple-making relationships in the community. This evangelistic social movement must take place before a typical worship service ever exists.
Our Strategy: 3 Ways to Bridge the Gap
To understand our strategy, it’s helpful to understand a bit about the local culture:
While every culture has barriers to the gospel, they also have fantastic bridges to the good news. The Eastside of Hollywood is a diverse mashup of successful urban professionals, struggling young artists, and the poor and marginalized of society. The millennial culture is highly motivated and very socially aware. These young adults chase their dreams, celebrate equality, build community, express concern for the marginalized, and see value in vintage fare.
We want to see this community renewed as urban professionals and young adults experience the good news of Jesus in such a way that they would serve all people, including the poor and the marginalized, for the glory of God. We are aiming our ministry at the culture shapers (artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians, etc.), and calling them to help us build God’s Kingdom on earth by serving the least of these.
Our heart for the city is patterned after God’s heart for Babylon, when he told the Israelites,
“Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Social Justice, Intentional Relationships, and Empowering Leaders
We plan to lean into these cultural values with three specific strategies.
1) Inviting non-Christians to serve with us as we pursue social justice.
By engaging locals in community service projects at the schools and in their neighborhoods, we hope to build a bridge into the community as they witness our genuine Christ-centered love for the people of the city. We can create opportunities to change the way people think about faith in Jesus Christ by incarnating the gospel through social justice. We don’t even know what this looks like yet, because we’d rather ask our community how it wants to be served than dictate the plan to them.
2) A Culture of Intentional Relationship-building
As we build Christ’s reputation in the community by serving we must effectively capitalize on these opportunities to build Christ-centered relationships. Our team will live, work, and play in the neighborhood. Prayer meetings and group Bible studies will all take place at natural community gathering spots, and we’ll know the names of our neighbors and our baristas because we have them over for dinner. We will offer the unconditional love of the gospel to a lonely and individualistic culture that craves community.
3) Empowering all believers for the work of ministry
In order to have a culture of intentional relationship-building we must equip all believers with the theological and relational tools needed to be disciples that make disciples. Every member is a minister and every person has a part to play. New team members will immediately be integrated into a relational process of training and will be empowered to use their vocation and their story to make a difference for the gospel.
So in a nutshell, before we ever launch a typical church service we are going to first make the effort to belong to the community. We are going to make friends, serve the good of the city, and empower a team of people to do the same.
Reach out if you are interested in being part of this team. I’d love to chat more.
- Continue praying for Katie and I (And our growing team!) as we make preparations to move into this community.
- Pray for the people of Silver Lake, Echo Park, Atwater Village, and East Hollywood to yearn for God.
- Pray that God would build of network of people and financial support to accomplish this work.
If you’d like to give financially to this effort, click here, click “sign-up” and select the “Central Church Plant” Fund from the drop down menu when given the chance.