The Apostle Paul, arguably the greatest missionary in history, had a simple, two-fold strategy as he set out to bring the gospel to the Gentile world. First, he went to the cities (cf. Acts 16:9, 12), and second, he planted churches in each city (cf. Titus 1:5 - "appoint elders in every town"). Having done that, he could say that he had "fully preached" the gospel and that his work had been accomplished (cf. Romans 15:19, 23). His assumption was that once a church was established everything necessary for the spread of the gospel would follow.
Today, research shows that new churches are the best way to reach new generations, new residents and new people groups in a city with the gospel. In fact, they are up to 6 to 10 times more effective at attracting people to the gospel than older, more established churches. Although we desperately need the existing churches to continue to grow and maintain faithful gospel ministry, if we are to reach the rapidly growing numbers of people in cities who do not know Christ, we need hundreds and thousands of new churches to be established in those cities.
For the first time in the history of the world more than 50% of the world's population lives in cities. Most leading urbanologists estimate that by 2050 the number of people living in cities will exceed 70%. The growth of cities is the missional challenge of our generation.
The Gospel in the City
The mere proliferation of churches will not necessarily change a city unless those churches are shaped inside-out by the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the starting point for everything we do. It tells us that we are more sinful than we ever dared believe, but at the same time more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope. It takes away any basis for pride, self-righteousness, or despair, and it affects not just the way we preach, but the way we view the poor, the workplace, the broader culture, and those who believe differently from ourselves. When the ministry of a church is driven by the gospel it will work for the peace and prosperity of the city (Jeremiah 29:4-7).
Nowhere do we encounter more opportunities to apply the gospel in these ways than in the city. Many modern urban dwellers face loneliness, economic hardship, social injustice, and personal and societal brokenness. The church is to serve all of these needs, including directly serving the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the city. We are dedicated to training leaders and planting churches that are committed to strengthening the influence of the gospel in the city in ways that result in spiritual growth, the flourishing of neighborhoods, reconciliation between classes and races, and the renewal of family life, education, health, and vocation.
Working for the common good also means bringing our faith into the various spheres of culture. The city is the center of business, the arts, and the public and nonprofit sectors - fields with enormous influence on the broader culture. We believe that all kinds of work, not just Christian ministry, can be used to glorify God and make the city a better place.
Growing the Movement
Redeemer City to City is drawing on what we have learned in New York City and other global cities over the past twenty years collaborating with a growing number of church planters and leaders around the world. We help recruit, train, coach and fund national church planters working in trans-denominational church planting networks in more than 60 global cities, with the hope of seeing these networks multiply churches, become self-sustaining and bring the gospel to bear on their city. For more information on our affiliated churches and networks, visit the Inside the Movement section of this website.
Beyond our activities in global cities, we are also publishing content from twenty years of ministry and making it available to church planters, pastors, and urban-minded Christians everywhere in the form of published books and group studies as well as digital content. You can view these publications, including free web-only content, in our Resources section.
Please explore this website to learn more about our philosophy and movement of church planting and how the gospel impacts all of our life and ministry.