A Church for Questions (.org)
Vision for a church plant in New York City
John C. Rankin
[An exploratory meeting for sometime in June 2017 will be announced here as soon as scheduled. If you want an email announcement as to time and place, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.]
[To support this vision, the TEI will assume original expenses until a church is legally incorporated. Your support of the TEI in this initial phase is thus needed: teidonate.org. Thank you.]
The ministry of the TEI has always been rooted in the power to love hard questions (click here for a summation; see also my various books). We have two choices in life: 1) flee the hard questions (emotionally, spiritually and/or intellectually), and get tackled by them face down in the mud — a life out of control; or 2) run at the hard questions and tackle them — a life of self-control in the Holy Spirit.
Whether in churches, on university campuses, in the marketplace, in the Mars Hill Forum series, in countless conversations with believers and unbelievers alike, this has been my priority. The art of listening to and the posing of questions in rabbinic style, to God, leaders and one another, is at the core of biblical faith. It is how Jesus came to us in his incarnation.
The vision for A Church for Questions is to provide a home for such ministry within the church, and to strategically export it to the rest of the culture. Here are the initial thoughts:
- Saturday night and/or Sunday morning service; or even midweek: a) an admixture of the best classical hymns and contemporary praise songs led by a home-grown orchestra and band; b) liturgical elements; and c) circles of intercessory prayer where the power of the Holy Spirit to intervene is sought.
- Sermon: Drawing key questions from a given biblical text, followed by questions from and dialogue with several people in the assembly.
- Sunday or other evening: TEI International Leadership School. This equals seven classes at 15-30 hours each, providing biblical literacy 101, equipping believers with competence in the Word and confidence to address the toughest questions in the culture. This is also the foundation for the larger vision of teicohort.org.
- Various Monday or other evenings: A Mars Hill Forum or cognate public conversation with skeptics of the Bible, or questions between different interpretations of the Bible.
- Strategic social media interface.
Thus, A Church for Questions celebrates the intrinsic power to embrace questions at the emotional, spiritual and intellectual levels. Located in NYC, the possibility of cultural impact for the Gospel and concentric influence is large. The sequence of church, classes and forums, and cognate visions, serves this end where it is attractive to believers, lapsed believers, and unbelievers alike. Relational integrity and freedom define the ethos.