The Church at Cooper Young

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Our Mission Part 3

Serve the City

In the book of Nehemiah, we see a man distraught and broken for His city. He desires to see renewal in His city. We too desire to see renewal in our city, the city of Memphis. We want to be intentional in the way we live in our city. We will be intentional in the way we love Memphis, in the way we pray for our city and the way we participate with our city.

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Jeremiah 29:7 

Intentional with the way we LOVE our city:

We believe that there was nothing in us that deserved or earned God’s grace of salvation. It is that truth that fuels our love for the city of Memphis. As undeserving as we were, we will love every and all peoples.There is not one person that God does not love. In fact, Paul says to Timothy in 1 Timothy that “God desires that all would be saved”. As Peter says in Acts, “who am I to stand in God’s way”. We must be compassionate and merciful to those of Memphis. We will love every person no matter the differences we may have. The Gospel is the great equalizer and we will herald it to as many as we can through our words, but also through our deeds, pointing people to Jesus Christ.

Intentional with the way we PRAY for our city:

We believe in the power of prayer. We believe that God chooses to use the prayers of His people and we want to be used by Him. We will be intentional, as a church, to pray for renewal in the city of Memphis. Our gatherings, no matter size or location, will be supported by prayer for our time together, but also for city renewal. God will accomplish what He desires. Our prayer is that our desires line up with what He desires.

Intentional with the way we PARTICIPATE with our city:

We don’t desire to recreate ministries or social groups for the sake of trying to do them better. In a lot of cases, ministries and social groups have been working successfully for years with the goal of bettering the city of Memphis. We want to join them in their efforts and not replace them. We want to participate in events, fundraisers, and ministries that look out for the welfare of the city. There will be an intentionality as we, at The Church at Cooper Young, look out for the welfare of the city. We don’t want to be focussed on ourselves and miss or ignore what is happening inside the city of Memphis. We will set goals to participate as a church quarterly with ministries that are already acting on behalf of the city.

We desire to be vehicles of justice to those who haven’t been able to receive it, like widows, orphans, and single parents. James says that true religion is caring for widows and orphans.We have a desire to care for the children of Memphis.

Our mission is to Stay Grounded, Share Life Together, and Serve the City.

Our Mission Part 2

Sharing Life

The next aspect of our mission is to Share Life together. This is based on the idea that all of life is impacted and shaped by the power of the Gospel. In fact the Gospel wrecks our life and rebuilds it so that we can love and proclaim to the world that Jesus is better. We share life not just by how we talk or what we attend on a Wednesday night or Sunday morning, we do this by our interaction and love for all people. It is in the truths of the Gospel that we realize that the mercy and grace that we have been shown has not been earned or deserved. If we did not deserve it, then even the most vile and destitute person can be loved with the same love that has been shown to us.

Not only is how we love others steered by the Gospel, but how and why we spend time together is as well. Instead of just meeting on scheduled times, we get together other times wanting to spend time together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we spend time together we begin to share our struggles and desires and hopefully the “plastic masks” begin to come off. When the masks come off, true community occurs and in our togetherness we can proclaim the Gospel to a world looking for true community.

Sharing life together is not a utopian idea. In Acts 2, the Bible says, of the early church, that “they had all things in common”. The idea was that the early church shared everyday life together, which meant that they were in each others’ business, even when it wasn’t comfortable. We want to share life together for the advancement of the Gospel. This will begin in our Missional Communities.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” 

Colossians 3:17

We see every christian as a missionary to a specific place and people. In the Great Commission(Matthew 28:18-20) we see that Jesus has sent us into the world to make disciples. The word “go” is translated “in your going”. This means that making disciples is supposed to be a part of our everyday lives and not just something we go and do. Therefore, we believe that missional communities create an environment where life-on-life discipleship can occur. The result of sharing life together are disciples on mission for the Kingdom of God.

Missional communities are a collection of christians on mission together for the advancement of the Gospel that typically meet within homes. Missional Communities give us an opportunity to practice the “one another” verses found throughout the New Testament. Lives lived intentionally on mission for Jesus and His glory will produce disciples as well as change the neighborhood of Cooper Young, Midtown Memphis and the city of Memphis.

Within our Missional Communities we will also fellowship or koinonia. Repeated throughout the New Testament are teachings on how we were created for community. We have been saved into a community of believers where we share with one another life, as stated above, but we also strengthen one another to push forward and to go higher up and further in. We need one another in order to accomplish the mission to which God has called us. We cannot accomplish any of this apart from the grace of God and we are glad about this fact.

Our Mission Part 1

A church’s mission is how the church will accomplish its vision. It communicates to the “reader” the practical ways in which it will see the vision to fruition. A metaphor that works is to view the vision as a destination (i.e. city, state, park, or mountain) and the mission is what mode of transportation is being used to get there (i.e. car, train, bus or plane). It is our hope to fulfill our vision by planting a church whose mission is dedicated to three simple phrases: Staying Grounded, Sharing Life, and Serving the City. For this post I will focus on the first, Staying Grounded.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” 1Corinthians 15:3-4

Staying Grounded

We will stay grounded to the Word of God.The inerrancy of Scripture forces us to be completely reliant on the Truths in it.We will teach only the Bible and not any man’s opinion. In an age of subjectivity and post-modern thinking, we must stay grounded to objective truth. Everything we do at the Church at Cooper Young will be Biblically based. Our decisions will be made with counsel from the Bible.The Bible will be central to our gatherings through the songs we sing and the words that are preached or taught.The Bible is our foundation.

In the Bible we see a theme of renewal. Israel, time and time again, had their relationship with God renewed through His grace and love.The Prophets spoke of renewal that would come through Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect sinless life, died a gruesome and horrific death and was resurrected from the grave not so we could be happy, but so that we could be image bearers once again of God and worship Him.The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ and His life, death and resurrection leads to renewal. Renewal will not happen in Memphis apart from the Gospel. By staying grounded in the Gospel, we will have a proper perspective in our ministry as well as in our personal lives.This Mission is too important to not stay grounded.

Our Vision for Cooper Young

I thought I would begin by giving you our vision for the church plant. I believe that this vision can be duplicated throughout Memphis and beyond. It is founded and rooted in scripture and it is a God-sized vision. I become very overwhelmed when I begin thinking about the task ahead. I get defeated before ever doing anything because of the sheer size of the vision. The reality is, that in Christ and by the sovereign hand of God this task can and will be accomplished. We as christians can become paralyzed by the unknown or by the size of work ahead and when this happens we rob ourselves of joy. So when you read our vision and as you look around your world and see what God is doing, join Him and don’t rob yourself of joy. You can count on the fact that we will fight to do the same. The fight is worth it…join us.

Our vision for Cooper Young, Memphis:

We desire to be an instrument of Gospel-centered renewal for individuals, families, the local neighborhood, the greater city of Memphis and the world.

We desire to see lives changed by the Gospel. Memphis does not need another hip church or great attractional gathering. Memphis needs the Gospel.We want to be used by God to deliver this message.When the Gospel is preached, lives are changed and renewal is being completed. Spiritual renewal begins and ends with God.We believe it is the same for city renewal.We want to be instruments for this renewal by the way we live, what we preach and teach, and by being intentional towards the community.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians that we are “ministers of reconciliation”.We want to reconcile the people of Memphis and CooperYoung to God so they can be and do what they were originally created for.We want to see God change the entire city of Memphis and beyond. He is capable and we believe that The Church at Cooper Young has the opportunity to join Him in what He is already doing.There is great need in Midtown Memphis for renewal.We desire to join God in that renewal.

Can I miss a city I know very little about?

The question seems simple and maybe even strange. Before answering, let me ask a couple more questions. What if the city in question is where God has directed my heart and my ministry? What if God has changed my affection for my current city and replaced it with this new one? These, and so many more, are the questions that we are asking as we walk through the calling that we believe God has put on our lives. Through months of prayer, I now believe that I can miss a city I know very little about and you are reading this blog because I have invited you to join us through this adventure.

For those of you who don’t know our story, let me start there. For the last four years, I have been a pastor/elder at Christ Family Church in Dahlonega, Georgia. CFC was planted by Nathan and me in 2009. We started with a few people and have seen God grow it to what it is today: approximately 120 each Sunday with 80% being comprised of college students. It is a vibrant and beautiful display of God’s grace. Two guys who can barely grasp the magnitude of this calling, and who have very little “professional” training have seen God use them to accomplish His work here on earth. I say all this so you grasp my next statement. I love Christ Family Church. I love the people, I love the music, I love what we have seen it grow to be. So for me to say “I miss a city without knowing much about it” means a whole lot.
Jamie and I are in the process of moving to Memphis, TN to plant a church in Midtown. My affections have been directed to a city I know very little about. My days are consumed with thoughts about Memphis and the people who need the Gospel. As we walk through so many unknown details, we are trusting in our merciful Savior and caring Father to guide and direct our steps. He is faithful and we know that He will take care of us.
My hope and truest desire is that you will be encouraged by the words that you read on these pages. I have no desire to make a name for myself. I want to make much of Jesus and share with you our story as we walk through it. So sit back and enjoy the ride. It may get bumpy, but it will never be hopeless.
I miss Memphis and can’t wait to know more about it.
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The Church at Cooper Young

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