We’re doing this for our city. Our longing is to see New York—and everyone in it—flourish. We believe the best way to serve the city is to embody the gospel in every neighborhood. The gospel doesn’t just change individual lives; it advances the common good. The increase in philanthropy, mercy, justice, racial reconciliation, integrity, and hope that occurs when more and more people live out the gospel is good for all of society, not just the body of Christ.
Sociologists have noticed that when a certain minority population in a community increases to anywhere between 10-20%, then the culture of the entire community begins to change. Right now, the body of Christ is 5% of the population of New York—a minority. If a critical mass—around 15%—of New Yorkers are not only part of a gospel-centered church, but express gospel values—mercy, friendship, justice, hope—in the city, we believe it might reach a tipping point where the gospel goes beyond changing individual lives, to helping the whole city flourish.
Over the past 25 years, a gospel movement has been on the rise in New York, with particular acceleration happening in the last five years. In 1989, less than 1% of center-city New Yorkers attended a gospel-teaching church, compared to 25% of Americans nationwide. Through Redeemer and other new churches, that number has risen to 5%. With that acceleration, we believe we are at a critical inflection point in the movement of the gospel in our city where that number could rise to 15% over the next decade. We believe that might amount to a tipping point that changes more than individual lives but the long-term life of our city. Read more about the vision of this campaign.
Rise is the first phase of a decade-long plan. The first phase is estimated to cost $80 million. We are seeking to raise $40 million from the Redeemer community and have been working to raise the additional $40 million from partners around the country—people not even part of Redeemer—who believe in the vision of reaching a tipping point of gospel renewal in New York. During Rise, we are pursuing a strategy of new churches, new leaders, and new buildings rising in every neighborhood of the city—the cost of which is $15 million, $20 million, and $45 million respectively. Read more about the individual components of the plan.
Church planting is the most strategic way to grow the body of Christ in a city. We cannot reach a tipping point merely through the transfer of Christians from other churches—we must welcome and serve those who do not currently profess faith. New churches are proven to be the most effective way to reach those not already part of a church, as well as to spark renewal for existing churches and an overall increase in mercy and justice throughout the city. Read more about our plan for new churches.
If we want to serve this city holistically, we need gospel-shaped leaders at every level of ministry and the marketplace. Planting new churches citywide will require a long-term process to identify and train vocational ministers to lead them. We also need lay leaders discipled to apply the gospel across every sphere of their life. And we want to equip both city pastors and lay people in how to foster meaningful dialogue with seekers and skeptics. In all of this, Tim Keller can provide strategic leadership through teaching and mentoring more leaders to do evangelism and church planting in an urban context. Read more about our new approach for leaders.
One of the best ways we can love and bless our neighbors is by becoming a physical neighbor ourselves. Renting is impermanent and often makes us invisible to those who live nearby. We want to do more than descend into a neighborhood on Sundays to “use” space. We want to be rooted in the fabric of a neighborhood to share space—and be part of advancing the common good for generations to come. To that end, we envision opening wide our doors in more neighborhoods—just as W83 has on the West Side—to city council meetings, artist events, weddings, bar mitzvahs, memorial services, after-school programs, and more, to physically manifest what it looks like to be a “church not for ourselves.” Read more about our long-term strategy for church real estate.
Rise is the first phase of a decade-long plan. Our strategy to reach a tipping point includes a 10-year plan divided into three phases. Rise launches the first phase (2016-2019), laying the foundation for a long-term movement to bless the city. And our prayer is that the next decade will only be a small part of the long-term work God will do in our city. Our vision is not to be a flash in the pan, but to change the life of our city for generations to come.
This campaign marks a defining moment in Redeemer’s history; through it Redeemer will shift our mindset and paradigm of ministry in the city. In the past, Redeemer has grown by drawing people in. But our future is going to be about sending people out—to love and serve this city like never before. This vision is larger than anything we have gone after before. Where the goal of past campaigns was to grow Redeemer, the vision of this campaign is to grow the Body of Christ holistically. And in the past, where we needed only your prayers and financial support, this vision will take all of us investing more of ourselves as part of a mission to embody the gospel wherever we are. Learn more how you can be part of this movement.
You are a gospel-carrier. Your neighborhood, your job, your relationships are each places where you can love people and bless this city like no single other person in New York can do. We need you to rise and say, “I’m in” to pray, engage, and give as part of a gospel movement in New York. Because if a critical mass of New Yorkers express gospel values—mercy, friendship, justice, hope—in our work, lives, and neighborhoods, we believe it can help the city flourish for everyone in it. Are you in?
This campaign is much bigger than Redeemer and is beyond what we can do on our own. We already have significant investments from people not even part of this church, and outside New York, because they believe in this vision for the city. The gospel movement that has been on the rise over the past 25 years has been due to God’s work through Redeemer, Redeemer City to City, and many other churches—and it is only through close partnership with Redeemer City to City and churches of all denominations in this city that we will reach a tipping point.
Tim Keller is devoting the next decade of his life to this vision for New York. He will step down from his role as senior pastor to pivot into the strategic role of teaching and mentoring more leaders to do evangelism and church planting in an urban context. This shift will leverage his credibility and experience planting and leading churches in the New York context to multiply a church planting movement in every neighborhood of New York. He and his wife, Kathy, are dedicating the rest of their lives to serve and minister in New York.