Dear Redeemer friends and family,
On Sunday evening, we had our yearly Church Family Evening where we look back and celebrate the past year and look forward to the coming one. As part of this, we as the Leadership Team of the church announced: how we are doing financially, a vision for the next season and some changes to what we will do from September this year.
I am writing now to let everyone know the headlines. I have tried to keep the length to a minimum, so there are links throughout the mail for more information for those who are interested.
HEADLINE 1: OUR FINANCIAL STATUS
Last year, we ended with a surplus of around €46.000 (Praise God!) which we have added to the budget in 2022 to invest in growth as a church, therefore, we are currently looking at a substantial five-figure deficit this year. In order to sustain our current spending and the vision we believe God has given us we need an increase in our monthly income by around 20% throughout 2022. If this does not improve, we will have to make budget cuts in or before 2023 in the form of staffing reductions.
We hope for better things and we believe that God will provide for us as a church. Therefore, can I ask you first of all to pray for God to provide what we need to come in. Secondly, we know practically that most of our income comes from those who are part of our community. If that is you, I would invite and challenge you to consider what you are giving to the church and see if you can increase it joyfully in faith. I remind you in this of the wisdom of the Scriptures:
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
HEADLINE 2: A NEW SEASON, A FRESH VISION
As the church leaders, we believe that God is calling us to a new season in our life as a church, where we are to focus on: seeking renewal, sharing hope and standing firm. Yes, you knew it, it must be a set of three and start with the same letter, this time it is three S’s!
SEEKING RENEWAL – In Mark 2:21-22, Jesus responded to those challenging him on his followers’ spiritual practices about the need for “new wineskins” to contain “new wine”. God throughout Church history has worked in patterns of renewal or revival. We believe that a moment of renewal is coming for the Church and we want to be able to contain this new wine of God’s Spirit when it arrives. This means, however, we need to adopt new spiritual practices to enjoy and sustain this move of God when it comes.
SHARING HOPE – Jesus followers should live with an infectious hope. The apostle Paul wrote: for in this hope we were saved (Romans 8:24). We have a religion, a way of life, a system of thought grounded and submerged in hope. The secular world around is losing hope in its vision of utopia. As the gospel of world is failing, the gospel of Jesus will shine brighter and brighter. We need to recommit ourselves to sharing this hope with our generation.
STANDING FIRM – there is a great pressure right now on followers of Jesus in the West to go with the flow of our times, to give in, to shrink back and to conform to the pattern and thinking of our cultural moment. The words of Scripture remind us the opposite: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2). We need to become a resilient counterculture, confident in what we believe and we must not compromise on our love for and obedience to God’s Word and His Spirit.
To achieve this vision, we will be making some changes to what we do regularly from September.
HEADLINE 3: SPIRITUAL TOOLS
We believe that God is leading us through a paradigm shift (a new way of thinking) in the way we do things as a church community. This is from “running programmes to providing tools” for people to follow Jesus. The “spiritual tools” we will be providing for you in this next season are:
THIS IS THE WAY – We believe that the Western church is in a crisis of non-discipleship, people may “believe” in Jesus, but they are not disciples of Jesus as defined by Scripture. The local church exists to be the place where people discover who Jesus is and respond to him in faith by becoming his apprentice, his follower or disciple. This Is The Way is a tool to help us become disciples in this cultural moment through leading us into forming a rule of life. [Read More]
COMMUNITY GROUPS – We want everyone who comes to Redeemer, not only to attend meetings on a Sunday, but also to be part of our community, to be in community with one another. Why? The community of believers is where most spiritual formation happens, where people learn to be with Jesus, become like him and live life as he did together. Community Groups are a tool to help us be in community with one another in the midst of our busy lives and many other commitments. [Read More]
THE SUNDAY SERVICE – We believe that celebrating Jesus together and sharing the Gospel publicly are great privileges we have as believers in the Netherlands. We are adjusting what we programme on a Sunday morning to make it even more Gospel and Jesus-focused through hearing more stories of how God is working and by having Communion every week. The Sunday Service is a tool to help us and the city encounter Jesus.
THE ENGINE ROOM – We still believe that prayer is the engine room of the church, we can achieve nothing for Jesus without believing prayer. Prayer is essential in achieving our vision, we need to become a praying people. The Engine Room is a tool for us to seek personal and corporate renewal through prayer, worship and hearing from God.
THE DEEP DIVE – We know that it is not always possible to go into the depth that certain topics require on a Sunday morning and the Bible encourages believers to: continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of (2 Timothy 3:14). If we are going to stand firm in our cultural moment, we need to become convinced of what we say we believe. The Deep Dive is a tool to help us search the Scriptures, contemplate our culture and forge a stronger faith.
That is all from me for now. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns, but I am likely to respond after my holiday in the first weeks of July.
Grace and peace,
On behalf of the Leadership Team