Thursday, May 8, 2003
Mission Church Meeting
Tonight Doug Wilson and Peter Leithart led a meeting about the new mission church in Moscow. The church will be a plant of Christ Church, and Peter Leithart has committed to serving as pastor of the mission for two years (after which time, if the church is particularized and if it calls him to continue as pastor, he could consider a more permanent call). We are planning to be part of the new church, and I was very pleased with tonight's meeting.
After an introduction and some explanation by Pastor Wilson, Dr Leithart outlined some immediate and midrange goals, as well as some aspects of his overall vision for the new church. The immediate goals are regular, edifying worship, pastoral care, and elder training (because before the church can become particularized, it must have its own elders). The main midrange goal he mentioned was liturgical development. In the end, he would like the church's liturgy to resemble something closer to Anglican or Lutheran liturgies. In the short term, he mentioned practical things like praying the corporate confession of sin in unison, collecting/bringing the offering as part of the service, and using responsive elements and hymns like the Sanctus around the Lord's supper.
He then discussed three aspects of his an overall vision for the new church. First, inspired by Philip Jenkin's The Next Christendom (see my 6 Nov 2002 post), he would like to participate from afar in the growth of the church in global South by ministering to local internationals. Second, inspired by the work of UW-Seattle sociology of religion professor Rodney Stark, particularly his The Rise of Christianity (HarperCollins, 1997), Dr Leithart would like to participate in the kind of social and mercy ministries that contributed to the growth of the early churches and that Christianized entire cities. And finally, inspired by the work of Rich Bledsoe (see this article and scroll down to "The city is my parish") and other pastors in Boulder, Colorado, who have built relationships with the district attorney, police chief, and other civic officials in their area, Dr Leithart would like to serve the city by building similar relationships and offering to pray for and do whatever we can to help the local officials.
Launch of the new mission church is set for August. In your prayers, please remember the elders and congregation of Christ Church, Dr Leithart, and all of us who will make up the new congregation.
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