At the core of our church planting work are the following three truths:
- God’s heart is especially inclined toward to the poor
- The local church is at the center of the mission of God
- The church planting movement of the past forty years has overlooked the establishment (or revitalization) of local churches in urban poor communities.
The reasons are not difficult to understand. Churches in these communities are rarely financially self-sustaining, and these neighborhoods are cross-cultural for those who did not grow up there.
We believe the way past these challenges is to view church planting the way we view foreign missions. International and cross-cultural missionaries raise funds to sustain their ministries, and they are devoted to learning their host culture. At NEU, our staff are trained and coached for support-raising, and our support staff helps in the process as well.
The motivation for church planting in our inner cities comes from Christ himself, and from his “all-nations” commission.
First, Christ reveals his heart for the poor. In Luke 4, Jesus reads from Isaiah 61, saying “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.” Jesus healed a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. Luke notes that she had spent all her money on trying to get well. Jesus demonstrated his compassion for this woman who was sick and impoverished. As he heals her, he draws attention to this woman who would have been ostracized by her illness. In doing so, he restores her health, and restores her place in society, making her no longer a pariah. She can now participate in society and commerce again.
Second, Christ became poor for all of us, that we might be rich. Paul sings the praise of a Savior who took “the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:7-8). Paul also writes of Jesus, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you by his poverty may become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
Third, Christ’s mission was to glorify his father. The inner city is full of a toxic mixture of religious and pagan ideas. Some of it sounds “christian.” Some of it doesn’t. As the church left our inner cities, it left a vacuum filled with bad Christian theology, power-swapping political rhetoric, and nonprofit mercy work that is helpful, but most often divorced from the gospel and evangelism. Our inner cities need the power of the cross, preached, taught, sung, prayed and demonstrated with compassionate care. Expository preaching, biblical eldership, biblical membership, patient discipleship, and more, are all a part of our vision and what motivates us. The inner city needs robustly gospel-centered churches.
The process of becoming a church planter or team member begins with conversations with our staff team. If God continues to lead you forward, then you will apply to our two-year pastoral apprenticeship, other staff positions, or an internship.
If you are ready to explore and talk, please reach out to us.
Our Current Church Plant Teams
- Central Falls Church Plant Team
- Newport Church Plant Team