In Mission Together
Little by little over the past nine years we who make up the TrueCity Hamilton movement have been learning to live out the reality of our unity in Christ. There have been a fair few false starts and lots of faltering steps as we have pursued God’s call to engage mission together. Proclaiming the gospel by pursuing justice, embodying mercy, facing brokenness and creating beauty–this is our calling. Recognizing that doing all of this together is important to Jesus means that unity in mission is at the heart of the movement. We have learned that gather together to hold up these priorities and connect around them is a crucial element in staying the course. Unity is a crucial means towards the end of seeking to see God’s kingdom come to our city.
Over the past month we have had some great opportunities to tangibly to do precisely this–to live out our unity by gathering together. On Sunday, January 27th we came together at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church to celebrate there decision to formally commit to being part of TrueCity. It was a wonderful time of worship as Pastor Mark Knetsch shared the call from Jeremiah 29 to seek the flourishing of the city. Pastor Henry Kranenburg led the congregation into a prayer of commitment and representatives from ten other churches shared greetings from their congregations and lit candles to symbolize our common cause in the gospel.
The following Sunday, on February 3rd, twelve churches participated in our 3rd pulpit exchange. The concept is simple, but challenging to live out none the less. It is powerful when core leaders bring messages in unaccustomed places. Some pastors whose churches meet later on Sunday were able to worship with their own congregations and hear a guest preacher firsthand: Sue Carr, Chaplain at Mission Services, enjoyed having Kevin Makins of Eucharist come interact with the congregation that gathers at James and Barton each Sunday. Meanwhile, at Eucharist, Robin Ellis (Wentworth Baptist) appreciated the opportunity for a break from his own current sermon series, though he also recalled the sensation of feeling a little out of place in a congregation much younger, on average, than his own. And at Robin’s church, Leanne Friesen (Mount Hamilton Baptist) preached on the theme of unity and saw living examples of it right in front of her, as she recognized many people that she knew from relationships forged through doing mission together.
As we read through the New Testament we repeatedly come across passages which make clear just how important unity is to God. John 17, 1 Corinthians 3, Ephesians 4, Titus 3, 1 John 3 are just a few of the places that speak into this theme powerfully. Clearly God wants us to recognize and live out the reality that we are one in Christ. As we explore this we come to realize that this unity is not the end, but a crucial means to the end. The mission we are given is to live out together the reality of God’s in-breaking kingdom that He might be glorified. The more diverse, the more powerfully the reality of the gospel comes through.
Over the next month we will have more fantastic opportunities to come together. This coming Sunday, February 17th New Hope Church is hosting a gathering to celebrate their decision to covenant as part of the TrueCity movement. And then on February 22nd and 23rd we will have our annual conference which will also kick off two weeks of 24 hour prayer for our city. So don’t miss out–God is on the move here in Hamilton! By coming together we can help each other see this more clearly and demonstrate the impact of God’s kingdom for our city as a whole.