Our vision is to plant a network of diverse neighborhood churches that work together for the renewal of Nashville.
In the last 10 years Nashville has reinvented itself. The music capital of the world is now also an international hub for healthcare, communications, manufacturing, media and publishing. Nashville is home to more than 100,000 college students who attend the region's 21 higher education institutions, with 60% choosing to stay in the area after graduation. The population downtown has grown by 174% since 2000. Nashville has one of the fastest growing economies in North American and 10 million people visit every year.
With so much population growth, the Nashville Metropolitan Area has almost 800,000 people with no connection to a church.
Our strategy has four major components. Our first two neighborhood churches launched on Easter Sunday (March 31, 2013) in Franklin and East Nashville.
Our strategy is to plant neighborhood churches all across the Nashville metropolitan area in both under resourced and well-resourced communities. This church strategy is diverse in its essential nature, uniting women, men, and families from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds across a major metropolitan area.
Each neighborhood church will have it’s own leadership team who provide spiritual direction and a specific missional vocation for the congregation. Each neighborhood community will also have its own structures for pastoral care. However, the neighborhood churches will share centralized resources such as student, workplace, family and artistic ministries, as well as services such as a counseling center and citywide mercy projects.
These neighborhood churches will hold weekend worship gatherings that highlight how the kingdom of God is being expressed all across the neighborhood. Each community has the freedom to contextualize its worship to the culture of its neighborhood; communities meeting in areas with many families may focus on developing a thriving children’s ministry, while a gathering in a neighborhood full of artists may include interactive, creative elements in its worship.
Several times a year all the neighborhood churches across Nashville will come together for one citywide gathering to tell the story of God’s grace to the city at large. These citywide gatherings will feature stories of transformation, liberation, healing, and renewal from every corner of the city. From these gatherings the harmony of passionate and reverent worshipers from different cultures and communities rise in unity over the city. And the outcome is the emergence of an integrated and holistic vision of urban renewal. These citywide gatherings of a single city church leverages influence, stewards momentum, and demonstrates the unity of our church to the city.
The heart of each neighborhood congregation is a network of Missional Communities: mid-sized groups of 25-40 people. These groups meet throughout the neighborhood and provide the ideal environment for building relationships while living out the mission of the church. Joining a missional community is the doorway to entering a journey of Christian discipleship. The missional community is essential in keeping the church small enough for everyone to be known, as well as be involved in the work of ministry.
Missional communities will be organized around a shared mission to a neighborhood or industry. They cultivate partnerships with schools, organizations that provide social services, business leaders, activists, community organizers, and anyone else who loves the city and wants to make it a better place to live; they then leverage those partnerships to implement strategic projects aimed at redeeming and renewing that neighborhood.
Small Groups consist of 3-12 people and will exist within our Missional Communities. Small groups provide an opportunity to abide in God’s love through the essential practices of Christianity: confessing sins to one another, reading and meditating on Scripture, and praying for nonbelievers to be captured by the life of God.
Small groups cultivate vulnerability through committed relationships, servanthood, and love. They very often meet over a meal in the home of a fellow member. These groups allow believers to walk together in the rhythms of Jesus’ Way through the practice of shared spiritual disciplines: Prayer, the study of Scripture, fasting, and relational accountability. The pursuit of vulnerability in these groups requires the practice of reconciliation. Communal life deepens as members learn to bear with one another in love.
This model is a highly relational, deeply interdependent, kingdom-focused vision of the church. It enables the church to remain small enough for each member to be known intimately and to involve every person in ministry while maintaining a kingdom-sized vision for renewing the city. The mission is both local and citywide.