Redeemer Delft was started at the end of January 2017, when a group of people from Redeemer International Church in The Hague moved across to Delft with a vision to start a new church in the city.
Although Delft has a number of good churches already, there are many people who do not know Jesus, and we feel that the city needs many more churches to reach these people!
We chose the name ‘Redeemer International Church’ because it shows something of who we feel called to be. We want to primarily reflect Jesus, our great Redeemer. We want to be a place where many people find their lives ‘redeemed’ by the love and grace of God. We chose to include ‘International’ in the title because we want to be a church that reflects the international demographic of Delft, as well as one that shares God’s passion for the nations.
Redeemer Delft does not exist on its own. We are a part of Christ’s body in Delft, and around the world. However, Redeemer Delft works closely with churches connected into the New Ground family of Churches. This ‘family’ of churches is not a denomination; rather it is best described as a family of churches together on a mission. We are held together by informal relationships, as well as common vision and values. Together with other New Ground churches, Redeemer Delft is involved in starting and supporting new churches, supporting churches and leaders in poorer areas, and taking the message of Jesus far beyond our immediate locality.
We do not know exactly what the future holds for us as Redeemer but we believe that God has called us to be a multiplying, Gospel-filled, Jesus-central, vibrant and growing church that impacts not only where we currently are, but also cities and nations beyond through church planting, mission and care for the poor. What an adventure!
Why become a member of any church?
Sometimes people get concerned about the notion of ‘membership’, feeling it to be overly restrictive. The word ‘membership’ is not the key issue; the key issue is being ‘added’ (Acts 2v41), or genuinely connected into a local church. This involves our hearts, actions, and attitudes. Essentially, becoming a member is a moment where you say, ‘Count on me! This church’s vision is my vision. This church’s mission is my mission.’
In Acts 2, right at the start of the first church in Jerusalem, we see several distinct things happening to the new believers. They are born again through repentance and faith, they are baptized in water, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, and they are “added” to the church (Acts 2v38-41, 47).
In the Bible we see that the word ‘church’ can apply to many different groups of people:
- A single congregation – In his letter to the Romans, Paul asks those reading it to “greet Priscilla and Aquila and the church that meets at their house” (Rom. 16v3-5);
- A city – Paul writes, for example, to “the church in Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1v2, 2 Corinthians 1v1) and to “the church of the Thessalonians” (1 Thessalonians 1v1);
- A region – For example, “then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace” (Acts 9v31);
- The entire world – This is shown in verses such as “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5v25) and “God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers…” (1 Corinthians 12v28).
When we talk about church membership, we do not do so in the context of the universal Church, as every true believer is member of the Church universal by definition. Faith in Christ makes you an automatic member. Rather, we do so in the context of the local church. God works out His purposes for His universal Church through smaller, local groups of people gathering together.
Reasons why we are convinced of the value of local church membership
- The New Testament’s structure – The epistles were written to local churches and seem to assume that all believers would be members of local churches.
- It is definitively stated in the Bible – “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number… and the Lord added to their number daily” (Acts 2v41 & 47).
- It is implied in the Bible – The descriptions of life amongst the early believers imply an incredibly close community (e.g. Acts 2-4). Furthermore, a consistent Biblical metaphor for the church is that of a body – an intimate, functioning body, not just a worldwide group of unrelated individuals who happen to believe the same thing.
- New Testament language of leadership and ‘follower-ship’ – The Bible warns church leaders that they will be held to account for how they lead (1 Corinthians 3; Hebrews 13). Equally, followers are instructed to obey their leaders. This obviously presupposes a situation where you know who is leading or following whom!
- New Testament discipline – Paul instructed his churches that, in cases of ongoing unrepentance, they should finally resort to putting people out of the church (1 Corinthians 5v2). Therefore, membership of a local church is an important part of an individual Christian’s discipleship, and helps them in maintaining their holiness.
Attendance and membership in Redeemer
Redeemer is a community of people. There are three types of people who can belong in Redeemer: enquirers, visiting Christians, and Christians who are also members of Redeemer.
What different types of people make up Redeemer?
- Enquirers – These are people who would not call themselves Christians but who are exploring the Christian faith. Introducing such people to Jesus is central to who we are as a church, so we want them to feel free to belong to our community even before they believe.
- Visiting Christians – These are people who are Christians but are not yet members of a local church family. Or are friends or family of those who are a member at Redeemer and are just visiting.
- Christians, who are also members of Redeemer – These are people who are Christians and who have taken the step to become members of Redeemer. They have made a public statement that they are with us as a church on God’s mission in Delft and desire to use their gifts to help us achieve that mission.
Our vision represents what we are aiming for as a church. It is the reason for Redeemer’s existence.
Our vision statement:
To glorify God by living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus
Our vision broken down:
- We exist for the glory of God – The Bible is so clear on this; all things ultimately exist for the glory of God. The ultimate purpose of God is to fill the world with His glory “as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2v14). His primary concern is His glory and it should be ours too, as he is the thing of most value and worth in the universe. As a church we do not exist for our own fame, or so that people will look at us and be impressed. No organisation, group, or individual can ever be worth ‘glorifying’ in the same way that God is. Our deepest longing is that, as a result of coming into contact with us as a church, people would encounter God, worship God, and love Him.
- Living the Gospel of Jesus – The Gospel of Jesus is the message of Jesus. It is the grand narrative of the Bible. It is the plan of God from eternity past to eternity future for people. The Gospel never grows old and we never move past it – just deeper into it. The Gospel has implications for every area of life, and therefore we want to live in such a way, as individuals and as a community, that shows the message of Jesus.
- Sharing the Gospel of Jesus – The Gospel of Jesus has to be shared in words because words are powerful! We want to be a church where the message of Jesus is clearly heard as it is preached and talked about. We desire that our members are passionate about sharing the Gospel, wherever they are. It is not enough to simply live lives that show the Gospel. When people ask how we live and why, we must be able to explain what we believe because the Bible says, “how can they believe if they have not heard?” (Romans 10v14). We want to be a church that equips our members to share the Gospel in words with those around them.
Our desire is that as we live lives that are consistent with our words, people will come to believe the good news of Jesus and join us in following God. As a result, God will be glorified as lives and communities are changed.
What we believe: the basics
The following belief statements represent foundational truth that all Christians would adhere to.
We believe that there is one God who has eternally existed in a community of three: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All are to be worshiped and all are equally God. None of them came into existence at a point in time. They are not identical to one another (the Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit and the Son is not the Father or the Spirit etc.) but they are one in will and essence.
God the Father
Created all things (both visible and invisible realities) out of nothing, according to His will, through the Son, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. He is faithful to every promise, and out of all that he created he intends for humanity, in particular, to live in relationship with himself. Therefore, in an act of great mercy and love, he sent His Son into the world.
God the Son
- He came – Moved by love and in obedience to His Father, he came into the world as a man, but without the loss of his divinity. He was conceived by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, and was born as Jesus of Nazareth through the virgin Mary. He was tempted in every way that we are, yet lived a sinless life. He came to reveal God to us, and to rescue us from our rebellion and rejection of God (sin) and its consequences.
- He died and rose – He died on the cross, taking the punishment from God the Father that we deserved, and thereby removed all barriers to our relationship with the Father. Three days later, he rose from the grave bodily, as a demonstration of His power over sin and death and as proof of His identity as the eternal Son of God. For 40 days he remained on the earth and appeared to over 500 people, teaching them and eating with them. After this time he returned to heaven, where he now rules at the “right hand of the Father”. Through him, all who love him now have access to the Father.
- He will come again – At an unknown time in the future, Jesus will return physically to establish His everlasting kingdom. At this time, all the dead will be physically raised and, along with the living, will be judged by him, according to how they have responded to His life and teachings.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit was sent by God the Father and the Son into the world in order to make us aware of our need for a saviour, to lead us to trust in Jesus’ life and work, and to empower the believer to live a new life in obedience to God. He spoke through the Old Testament prophets and inspired the writers of the New Testament, and he continues to enable the believer to understand what God has revealed about himself.
The Church is a spiritual community, made up of all those (living and dead) who have turned from their sin and trusted in Jesus alone for their salvation; who have been given new life by the Holy Spirit and are thereby united to Jesus as “one body”. The Church is founded on the truths found in the Bible (the Apostles’ teaching) and is not identical to one denomination, institution or gathering of people.
We believe that the Bible, including the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, was inspired by the Holy Spirit and, as such, is the written word of God (2 Timothy 3v16). The Scriptures are the authoritative guide for all Christian life, practice and beliefs (for the Church and the individual).
What we believe: core convictions
The following core convictions flow out of our basic beliefs, and serve to shape our specific practices as a church.
As a church we stand within a particular protestant tradition that could be called ‘reformed’. For many people this term will have different meanings and a variety of feelings that accompany it (especially in the Netherlands). However, when we refer to ourselves as reformed, we mean that our thinking about God and the Christian life is shaped by three things: authority of Scripture, sovereignty of God, and the glory of God.
- Authority of Scripture – As said on the previous page, we believe that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit and as such is the written word of God (2 Timothy 3v16). In Matthew 4 you can read how Jesus viewed the Scriptures. It seems that Jesus loved the word of God with his heart (being satisfied by it), his mind (understanding it), and his will (obeying it). If that was true of Jesus, we really want that to be true of us as well. God’s word is authoritative for all Christian life, practice and beliefs (for the Church and the individual). Therefore, the truthfulness of every statement of belief is dependent on whether on not it is in line with the teachings of Scripture. As a result of this, we aim to base all of our teaching on the Scriptures and encourage all believers to study them for themselves and apply them to their lives in obedience to God, who speaks through them in life-giving power.
- Sovereignty of God – By ‘sovereignty’ we simply mean that God is the rightful ruler and judge of all things. He created all things and, therefore, he is in control of all things. Nothing can prevent him from doing what he wishes, from achieving His purposes and fulfilling His promises. Furthermore, we believe that he is also sovereign over salvation, that salvation is all a result of the gracious act of God and has nothing to do with our work or will. It is God alone who saves (Psalm 3v8).
This faith gives us assurance and hope in any circumstance that God is able to work whatever is happening for our good and his glory (Romans 8v28). It also makes us confident when we evangelise, that nobody is beyond salvation and nobody is out of the reach of God’s love.
- Glory of God – The ultimate purpose of God is to fill the world with His glory “as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2v14). His primary concern is His glory and it should be ours too, as he is the thing of most value and worth in the universe. We believe that all things exist for God’s purposes and His glory, and that includes this church. In the end, this church does not exist for you and your agenda or needs. As we have already seen, it exists to glorify God. That is our desire and we hope that you will join us in this.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit
The Christian life is to be lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus modelled such a life and commands us to do likewise. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live lives that are pleasing to God. We believe that the Holy Spirit supernaturally gives abilities to believers, some of which seem ‘ordinary’ (e.g. administration, hospitality) and others that seem more extraordinary (e.g. healing, prophecy). We believe that all of the “gifts of the Spirit” found in the Bible are still available for all who believe in Jesus (Romans 12v3-8; 1 Corinthians 12v7). Furthermore, these gifts should be encouraged and practiced in individuals’ lives and within the Christian community, for the building up and encouragement of all believers (1 Corinthians 14v26). This means that during our Sunday worship times, for example, we encourage contributions, because we believe that every believer has something from God to offer the body of Christ. We also believe that the “Baptism of the Spirit” is available for all believers (Matthew 3v11) and should be accompanied by further fillings of the Spirit throughout the believer’s life (Ephesians 5v18).
We believe that God has given all believers a mission (Matthew 28v19-20), which we have summed up as: “To glorify God through living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus.” All of a Christian’s life should be lived in line with this purpose, and church should be organised and practiced in such a way as to achieve this mission.
When you read the New Testament, you see the Apostles on this mission. As they pursue God’s mission, the Gospel is proclaimed and people are saved, baptised, and added into a community. This means that the church is a product of mission. Over time, in many countries with established churches, this process has become inverted and mission has become a ministry of the church, rather than the church being a product of mission.
Our desire is that everyone involved in Redeemer would be caught up in God’s mission. We want the existence of our church to be a necessity because there are so many people being saved and added into God’s family. We never want mission to become something we do as an extra, ‘on the side’.
Another way of summing these three things up is: we love the Bible, we love the Spirit and we love to share our faith.
Our values show not only what is important to us, but also how we do what is important to us.
Our first and highest calling as followers of Jesus is to be worshipers of God. Worship takes many forms – praise, thanksgiving, singing – but the heart of worship is a life fully surrendered to God. Worship is about every part of our life, it is about seeking to glorify God in everything we do, say and think. Our desire is that everything we do as a church will help equip our members to be more authentic worshipers.
However this also means that as a church we want to value our times of corporate worship, whether on a Sunday or in small groups. As we honour God with our mouths something happens in our hearts and minds; as we focus on God everything else is restored to its proper place. God is not just active during the sermon, nor is he only active during our time of praise and singing. These are equally valuable times where God by His Spirit draws close to us, touches us, heals us, convicts us, and transforms us to be more like his Son.
We are sent by Jesus to share the Gospel in the whole world. To be missional is the practical outworking of this theological conviction that we are a ‘missional’ people. We never want mission (often called ‘evangelism’) to become something we do as an extra on top of everything else the church is busy with. Missional thinking that always reaches out to people who do not know Christ needs to be the heartbeat of everything we are as a church.
Our desire is that everyone involved in Redeemer would be caught up in sharing God’s love to people around them in Delft, The Netherlands, and the ends of the earth!
The church is a body, alive and growing! When a body stops growing it is dead. We want to be a church that keeps growing. Not because we believe bigger is better but because we believe growth is healthy. We want to grow numerically as babies are born and as non-believers are born again as we live and share the Gospel. But we also want to grow and mature in our faith as individuals. Paul sums up his ministry as: “we proclaim [Jesus], warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1v28), and this is how we see our role as leaders in the church. We want to do everything we can to help you grow in your love for God and your love for others, so that you might better live and share the gospel. The consequence of which is that people around you will put their trust in Jesus, be baptised and added to the church.
People matter to God. Therefore, people should matter to us. The Bible uses language of a family describing the people of God (fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters…). And God is like a family in Himself (three in one) Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in perfect relationship. Through faith in Jesus we are both reconciled and welcomed into the Trinity, and reconciled to one another.
The church is made up of people. It is not a business or institution; we are not professional Christians. Therefore, through all we do as a church we want to be careful to build ‘relationally’, letting people know that they are loved and cared for. Good relationships mean that honest and direct conversations are sometimes necessary but in all things love and care for one another is foundational. Our desire as a church is to create a culture where discipleship and pastoral care happen naturally within the church community. We want to be a church where everyone takes responsibility for one another.
So, we see Redeemer as a family, a people who are called to worship God and follow Jesus everyday, together on a mission. Or in other words: we love God, love people, love the city and love the nations!
Creating a culture
The culture of a church is hugely influential as it has to do with people’s actual experience of the church, rather than what was written down by or about the church. We hope you would recognise the following seven characteristics in our church culture:
The Bible tells us to have faith in God, and makes it very clear that such faith is essential if we are to see the power of God (Hebrews 11). So as a church, we want to be a community characterised by faith. We want to expect God to do the things that only God can do: to save and transform lives, heal the sick, rescue the oppressed, and supernaturally provide for our needs. We do not want to be a church whose vision or activities are limited by human wisdom, power or resources – instead, we want to always ask the question, “what is God capable of doing?” We want to look to him who is able to do more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3v20). We want to pursue the mission God has given us in confidence, knowing that he is able and willing to reach the people of this city with His Gospel and that he will call and equip people to plant churches, in this nation and around the world.
We also know that our greatest tool in this is prayer. We know that if we are going to be a faith-filled church, we need to be a praying church. This is why we encourage individuals and our life groups to pray. It’s also why we have monthly prayer meetings, and a ‘Week of Prayer’ three times a year, where we can come together to call on God for our church, our city and our nation (2 Chronicles 7v14; 1 Timothy 2v1-2). In prayer we can look to God and be caught up on His agenda and receive guidance and refreshment from His Spirit to continue on in faith.
We want to be a church full of the grace of God. Grace is what sets Christianity apart. We don’t become Christians because we are good enough – God saves us because he loves us. He treats us in ways we do not deserve. This incredible grace has an effect on how we relate to one another.
God has been gracious to us, so we want to be gracious to each other.
Doing good works is an important part of our Christian lives. However, we believe it is essential that the motivation for these good works comes from a growing love for Jesus and not out of feelings of guilt or duty. While teaching extensively on how we can better live as Christians, we will always return to our foundation: our secure salvation in Christ, a gift from God that none of us deserve and which we can never lose or add to through our own efforts.
Grace is also outworked in the fact that when we make mistakes we can freely come back to God, trusting in His grace. Because of the grace of God towards us, we are called to be gracious with one another.
We want to be a generous church. Why? First of all, because God is a generous God! Paul writes, “See that you also excel in this grace of giving” (2 Corinthians 8v7) and then continues “… you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8v8-9). Jesus gave up much of what he had to come and save us. If we are to be true followers of Christ, we are also to follow him in His generosity.
Of course, generosity relates to more than just money and possessions. Most often this is what we are talking about when referencing generosity. As a church, we want to model this value. As a result we aim to give 10% of our income to support the work of the family of churches that we belong to. We also set aside an additional amount to bless and support other individuals, groups, churches, and organisations.
We believe that service isn’t just something that we do – it’s an attitude. Everything we’re involved in, worshipping, evangelising, leading churches, having kids, working jobs, should be done with an attitude of serving God, His people and others. Jesus came to earth, first and foremost, as a servant and to follow him is to make ourselves the servant of everyone (Matthew 20v26; Philippians 2v7).
A servant-hearted person looks at a situation and says, “What can I do to help?” They put others before themselves and do their best to make a real difference to specific individuals and situations. While we should always have this attitude, the Bible also teaches us to take special care to serve specific groups of people: those in material need, the sick, people without families, and those who are foreigners in our country, for example (Galatians 2v10; Hebrews 13v2; James 1v27). We believe that as we serve these specific needs of people in our city, we will show them who God is and what His Kingdom will be like.
We also hope that, as we grow and serve more and more people, this will have an impact on the city itself, so that everyone benefits. In ten years’ time, because of the grace of God working through Christians serving, Delft could have reduced crime, fewer lonely people, fewer trafficked women, fewer homeless people and fewer alienated minorities who cause strife within neighbourhoods. How amazing would that be, and what a reflection of the Kingdom of God!
Unity in diversity
Delft is a city of great diversity. This is amazing! We get the wonderful opportunity to be a picture of what heaven will be like with many different cultures, languages, and races being united in worshipping Jesus (Revelations 7v9).
Practically, diversity does mean that we will all probably have to make sacrifices, in terms of what we do and say, how we practice church on a Sunday, what our small groups look like and so on, to help each other feel more comfortable in our church. This atmosphere of mutual sacrifice, and a mutual esteem for each other’s cultures, will help us along the often bumpy road of Christian unity. We believe that no human culture is better than any other; we want our church to be shaped around the centrality of the Gospel of Christ, the glory of His Father and the unifying work of His Spirit. It is Jesus’ culture we want to see in our church, and each of us must be ready to follow him, in His example of unifying servant-heartedness and self-sacrifice. Everything else is secondary.
Fun & humour
“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8v10). Jesus is the most joyful man who ever lived, and we want to be like Jesus. We think church should be a place that you really enjoy coming to and is fun too. With all the other values fully intact, we want to laugh a lot as a church. Laughter breaks down barriers between people and is a good way of making them feel at ease. Lots of our other values, as well as our ability to disciple one another and evangelise to those outside the church, will be enhanced if we know when to laugh at ourselves and when to disarm people with humour. God uses humour in this way (think of Jesus in his ministry), because it can reach past people’s defences and get to the root of their issues. It can be used to confront sin in individuals or groups without making people defensive. In addition, being joyful about God glorifies him, showing others that he is worthy of worship and worth giving yourself to. Who would you rather be around someone who spreads joy or someone who makes everyone depressed?
Welcome and hospitality
Just as God welcomes us into his presence, household and family, so we want to reflect this in how we relate to people we meet on a Sunday at Redeemer. We all want to take ownership of people visiting us. We don’t want anyone to feel unconnected or uncared for when they are among us. This also relates to inviting people into our homes for meals or a cup of coffee. We believe that the love of God is wonderfully displayed through open hearts and open homes!
Philosophy of leadership
We live in a society that is increasingly sceptical about leadership and authority. Often, this is because many have suffered under the hands of those in leadership, whether that of a father, a boss, a church leader, or a political leader. For others, it is just an expression of our desire for independence. However, the Bible is clear that the church needs leaders (Acts 14v21-23, Titus 1v5).
What is Biblical authority?
All authority resides in God and belongs to him because all authority is God’s delegated authority (Romans 13v1). God has designed His Kingdom in such a way that there is order in it (structures of authority) and we should honour that. All this also means that any rebellion against these authorities is actually rebellion against God. It means that any earthly leader needs to recognise that their authority is not theirs but a gift from God and that they themselves need to be under authority. It is important also to note that Biblical leadership is not authoritarian but imitates Christ’s style of servant leadership (Philippians 2v6-7). Therefore, local church leadership should never override people’s consciences (2 Corinthians 4v2), or seek to force people to do ‘their will’. Leaders need to remember that they are equal in value to those who follow them, they are only different in role.
However we also need to realise that God has created these structures of authority for His glory and our joy. The gift of leadership is from God for our good, for our protection and blessing. It is through God’s gifted, called and appointed leaders that God works to move us on in his purposes.
Who should lead the local church?
So, with these general principles in place, the question is, “What does leadership look like in the local church?” Throughout the New Testament “the basic apostolic pattern that we see emerging is: apostles planting new churches and appointing local elders to continue the local work (e.g. Acts 14v23)”. These elders must meet clear and strict requirements (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1; Titus 2; 1 Peter 5), which can be summed up in the following definition:
“An elder is a man who is called and gifted by God, who together with the other elders has the responsibility for leading a local church, and is: shaped by apostolic ministry, able to lead himself, able to lead his family and able to lead his local church.”
How are elders appointed?
The Biblical process is that God calls and equips them, then that calling and competence is seen by other people, that there is chemistry in the team and then they are recognised and set in place.
For this to happen:
- The person must recognise their calling and gifting to be an elder;
- Those who will be served by the new leader must confirm their gifting (Acts 6);
- Existing authorities (e.g. apostles) should confirm what others have seen (Acts 6; Galatians 2).
More about leadership in Redeemer:
Plurality of elders is the New Testament pattern. That is why we value team leadership tremendously. Currently Redeemer is lead by a Leadership Team. Within this team Dean Wilding is recognised as the Team Leader. As soon as we are ready, we will look to appoint elders.
The writers of the New Testament use the words ‘presbuteros’ (elder) and ‘episkopos’ (overseer) interchangeably and sometimes call elders also shepherds or pastors. We tend to just use the word elder rather than pastor, because: 1) elders is the most frequent and accurate biblical phrase used to describe those who lead a church, 2) pastor could imply a one-man model of leadership, and 3) overusing pastor would over-emphasise the pastoral gift and leave no room for pastors to exist who are not actually elders.
In Acts 6v1-6 you can read how the twelve appointed seven men to serve, in order to free up the apostles to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. The word for serve is ‘diakoneo’ which is the corresponding verb of ‘diakonos’ or deacon used in 1 Timothy 3v8-13. People of good repute, full of faith and the Holy Spirit were appointed. Throughout the New Testament the word deacon or deaconing is used for different people, both men and women, even for Jesus himself (for example Matthew 20v28). All Christians serve in one way or another. However, following the example in Acts 6 we have decided to appoint gifted men and women as deacons in order to free up the elders.
We have chosen to use the word ministry leader rather than deacon, because 1) of traditional unhelpful connotations to the word deacon in Dutch and English churches and 2) it is easier to understand for most people who are new to the Christian faith.
In Redeemer we will look to appoint ministry leaders for the following areas of church life: kids work, youth group, worship team, Sunday services, pastoral care, and city outreach.
See APPENDIX 6 for more details.
The elders together with the ministry leaders form the basis of the Leadership team of Redeemer.
Philosophy of ‘follower-ship’
Those who follow are no less important that those who lead. For a church to move forward in everything that God wills, there needs to be a great dynamic between loving, servant-hearted leadership and loving, servant-hearted ‘follower-ship’!
We all follow Christ
All Christians are followers. Being a Christian means following Christ, which means putting yourself under his authority and allowing him to speak into your life, to guide you, help you and correct you. It means putting his mission and his plan for your life above your own, and trusting that he knows what he is doing, even when you have doubts.
Following God-appointed people is not optional
However, being a follower does not end there. Christ, while seeing everyone as equal in value, assigns roles to specific individuals to take care of his people. He sets up an authority structure (mentioned above) of churches and leaders within them to guide his people and speak to them for him. This means that being a follower of human beings is not an optional extra to following Christ. Being involved in a local church is an essential part of being a Christian, and it will always involve following human leaders within that church. This includes the leadership team, as well as anyone who might lead a life group or ministry you want to get involved with.
If God’s calling you to be part of this church, he is also calling you to place yourself under the authority of the leaders within it, to practice follower-ship or ‘submission’. This means trusting that God has placed those people in leadership over you, that he has given them the right vision for this church and that they are listening to him and making the right decisions, with the help of the Holy Spirit. You also need to be ready, sometimes, to put them, the church, and its mission before yourself and your own needs and opinions. You’ll need to assume the best of them, to try to see the good that they’re doing or that they intend, as you do with Christ.
What does this mean in practice? Well, it means that you need to expect them to help, guide, and teach you, using God’s word (Hebrews 13v7). If you expect this, you’ll also need to be open with them about things you’re struggling with, or big life decisions you need to make, so they can help you. Like Christ, our leaders know we’ll make mistakes and struggle with things. What makes a good follower is someone who humbly asks for help, and then allows themselves to be taught, taking advice, criticism and guidance well. Leaders should be people whose example you can follow (Hebrews 13v7), and whose teachings you can obey. Since they will one day have to give an account to God for your life, you should be ready to honour them, pray for them, pay them properly, and “greet them warmly”, letting them know that you love them and appreciate their efforts (Hebrews 3v17-18; 1 Timothy 5).
Leaders aren’t perfect, they need your help
All this doesn’t mean that we think the leaders in this church are perfect or that you won’t sometimes have valid doubts about what they’re doing. When a human is following a human, it’s all right for the follower to ask questions and help the leader make changes if necessary. However, the ‘followers’ need to do it in a way that honours and supports the leader, that makes their life joyful and their leadership easier rather than more difficult (Hebrews 3v17; 1 Timothy 5). This means we expect members to encourage the leaders, as well as give constructive feedback where appropriate, not just to criticise. We also expect that members will talk personally to the leader and not gossip or spread resentment. Where possible, the most constructive thing a follower can do is to ask themselves, “What can I do to help?” and be ready to be part of the solution to their problem.
We take it as a given that if you were to become a member of Redeemer that you are firstly a Christian and secondly baptised as a believer.
We don’t expect you to be at church on 52 Sundays of the year, but we do ask you to make it your priority. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25).
Small group membership
Small groups, or ‘Life Groups’ as we have named them at Redeemer, are essential to life as a member of the church. It is in these groups where discipleship takes place, where friendships grow, where problems get solved, and where needs get met.
Christianity isn’t a religion we practise on a Sunday, it’s a way of life that we live out every day. For this reason, we try to set up Life Groups that are in your communities. This helps you support each other in a real, day-to-day way. You’ll also get to reach out to the communities around you as a team, with evangelistic socials and community projects.
Life Groups are shaped by the values worship, mission, growth and care (page 16-17). In practice that means that the group will regularly spend time to connect (share life with one another, pray and study the Bible together, and doing fun things), to celebrate (we love Life Groups to be centres of celebration, full of thankfulness and worship), and to contribute (being involved in community projects, being on mission together).
Each Life Group will look slightly different as it depends on who is leading, where it meets, and what its purpose is. Some may have ‘enquirers’ coming more regularly than other groups, and that may impact the way they structure their time together.
We would really encourage all members of Redeemer to be part of a Life Group. Community is vitally important for a healthy spiritual life. Having trusted friends around you and walking through your spiritual lives together is invaluable. We are never expected to go alone in the Bible, to do anything all by ourselves. Your Life Group will probably be the place where you learn and grow most during your time at Redeemer. It’s the place where most of your friends will come from, and because the people there know you best and it is a safe place to talk, it will be your first place to go in times of need.
Serving team participation
We never want our church to be an institution where all the work is done by paid professionals or a small, dedicated group of volunteers. There is a general rule in the business world that 80% of the work in a team or company is done by 20% of the people. A church should never look like this! The Bible says that the church is like a human body – every member must be contributing for it to function well (Romans 12v3-8; 1 Corinthians 12v12-31). We believe that each and every Christian is uniquely called and gifted by God to serve his church in some capacity. We will only be able to meet the spiritual needs of our people and our city if every member gets fully involved – without your help, whoever you are, Redeemer will be worse off. Whatever your skills, gifts, or calling, God has made you to serve and to see ‘fruit’ from your service (John 15v16). In fact, the greatest joys in the Christian life, and the greatest personal and spiritual benefits Christians get, come from serving others, not from being served.
This means that we expect every member to be involved in one or more ministries or teams within the church. This may mean being part of a team that helps out on a Sunday, serving through the week with design, administration, or events planning, leading a Life Group or working in another area. If you don’t know where to get involved, talk to your Life Group leader or one of the leaders in the church. They can help you determine what area your gifts would be best used in and where the greatest needs are.
For more information on what teams run within Redeemer, refer to Appendix 7 of this booklet.
Money is a sensitive issue, perhaps especially in the Christian world. But this does not mean that is should be avoided. The best way to counter wrong beliefs and practices is by demonstrating the truth.
As a member, we would encourage you to give regularly to support the work of Redeemer where you are based, and further afield. However, in the end how and what you give remains between you and God. If you find it difficult to give in faith and with joy, it would be better to not do it yet and to first find God’s peace about it. You are still welcome to come to Redeemer even if you never give anything – but we believe you will be missing out on God’s best for you in this area. Paul writes: “But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, and your love for us – see also that you excel in this grace of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8v7) The Biblical principle is that groups of believers give money to support what God is doing through that church and that, as a result, that believer is blessed and many other people come to worship God (2 Corinthians 12v15).
So the question is: how much should I give? Many will think in terms of a tithe (monthly giving of 10% of gross income) – this would be a good starting place for a member of Redeemer. Some give more than that, some give less. However much you give, the New Testament teaches that giving should be done regularly, joyfully and sacrificially (2 Corinthians 9v6-7). Generosity is something between you and God. We encourage you to be bold in your generosity and to have faith that God will provide for you, the giver (2 Corinthians 9v8-10), and for the people that receive the gift. While you will be welcome to attend Redeemer if you never give anything, members would be expected to give at least something on a regular basis. The key issue is that we worship God with our money, and that we don’t make money our god (Hebrews 13v5, Luke 16v13).
- Yes, I want to become a member! – Fill in a Membership Information Form that the Admin Team will email to you shortly after the #thisisredeemer evening. Please reply to that email with a filled out form.
When this has been received, we will contact you to set up a time when you can meet with one of the elders (or one of the eldership team couples). This will be an opportunity to get to know you a bit more, and for you to ask any more questions that you may have. This conversation will provide more clarity about the potential and timing of membership. When there is clarity that membership is definitely for you, you will be ‘welcomed into membership’ on a Sunday morning where we will pray for you (and celebrate!).
- I am not so sure whether membership in Redeemer is for me – No problem! Take your time. There is no pressure for you to rush a decision. You are welcome to speak to your Life Group leader, an elder, or another leader in the church.
- This information has helped me to decide that I do not want to become a member of Redeemer – No problem! Our deepest desire for you is that you get plugged into a great church where God places you to serve and grow. Whether this is Redeemer or not is really immaterial. There are other great churches in Delft that may fit you better.