Justin Moffat (another one of my favourite bloggers – his series on things he’s learned about preaching is worth a read) has a list of ten things he observed about Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church during his time in New York (where he worked in a church plant).
Here are my favourite bits from his list:
3. Redeemer seeks to ‘exegete’ the city. They ‘walked the streets’ early on to breathe in and consider the needs, drives and fears of New Yorkers. They didn’t generalise, patronise, or assume that they knew the needs before they began their project. But when they decided, they were specific.
5. They assume that people can be involved in a ‘service project’ (Mercy Ministry) without sacrificing their commitment to the Gospel.
6. They speak in church as though new people and not-yet-Christians are always present.
7. Tim Keller is positive, insightful, and a good example of the new apologetic. He has clearly identified and articulated certain ‘defeater beliefs’, and he systematically goes about answering them.
It’s a useful reflection – though doesn’t touch on the whole theology/idolatry of the city issue (though he teases a future post on the matter in the comments.
I was going to mention this the other day – but didn’t – but dad paid Redeemer a visit once upon a time during a whirlwind visit of the states – and wrote this useful article about Missional Churches (PDF) (back in 2004 before it the buzzword reached zeitgeist status) – he also wrote something about Redeemer that I can’t find on his old, abandoned blog (again in 2004 before blogging was cool – isn’t he such a trendy/geeky dad) … but I’ll keep looking.