By now, if you've found this page you know a couple of things: 1) Renaissance is a new church launching in Waltham, MA, and 2) It doesn't really look like the kind of church you're likely familiar with.
So with this in mind, you might be asking yourself, "why start a church this way?"
It's a great question. For us, it's pretty simple. You see, if there’s one thing we've learned in spending time and building relationships with those who don't go to church, it is that posture and disposition matter. Please understand, this doesn't we are trying to posture ourselves like a politician does for an advantage. It means taking the humble and loving of posture of the real Jesus, and not the posture of "us versus them" that sometimes happens in the church world. Let me explain...
We live in a cynical world, especially when it comes to organized religion. Maybe you feel that way! Let’s be honest, some of these feelings are justifiable. There are a lot of people who have been hurt by those who claim a connection to God. There are many who have seen the church make their burdens, their pains, their reality all matters of secondary importance to the growth and expansion of the institutionalized church. There are some who’ve felt like a project of evangelism by their Christian neighbors, rather than one who is loved without strings attached.
It’s because of all of these things, that we are starting a church with a humble posture in mind from the beginning. In fact, the Apostle Paul told the church in Thessalonica about the importance of this sort of posture in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8:
“7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”
Paul, an early leader in the church, was living with the posture and disposition of his Savior. We’re told in 1 John that those who are in Christ are to walk as Jesus walked. How did Jesus walk? He did so without a posture of power. Despite being God in human flesh, he was humble and gentle in so many ways. He was a friend to sinners. He was a listener. He shared in the burdens of those who could do nothing in return. He put himself on the level of those who had been marginalized and met them where they were at.
This isn’t to say that Jesus never did anything powerful (or isn't returning in a powerful manner). This doesn’t mean he didn’t demonstrate God’s supernatural work through his ministry. It is instead to say that sometimes we are tempted to make Jesus into a warrior. We turn him into someone who is assembling an army, the church, to take over the world. Our rhetoric sometimes lends itself to pounding the drum and calling the troops into action.
Yet, Paul’s words paint a different picture, that of a mother caring for her own children. It conjures up an image of being nurtured, cared for, loved despite mistakes or performance. In fact, the battle language Paul uses elsewhere in Ephesians 6 is about spiritual warfare and not flesh and blood. Interesting, right? The distinction makes sense, doesn’t it? What if in these divisive times the church collectively lived with this posture, this disposition? What if this became our M.O., our standard operating procedure?
At Renaissance, that’s what we are hoping to accomplish. We aren’t arriving in Waltham to make a big deal of ourselves. You aren’t likely to see us plastering our logo everywhere. You won’t see an army of us marching in matching t-shirts trying to “retake a city for Jesus.” It’s not that there is anything inherently wrong in this, it is just that the cynics have seen that and have passed. So no, we’re taking the Jesus-like posture of a mother to her children.
Our posture and disposition will stay humble. Those who love their neighbors, no matter what. Those who open their homes to anyone and everyone. Those who seek the good of our city, even when it doesn’t show up in our metrics. Those who stay, who listen, and who care without strings-attached.
With this, our prayer is that our city sees Jesus in and through us. That our posture would so emulate our Savior and Lord, that they can’t help but be curious, just as those in Jesus’ day were curious.
You see, our vision is just simply “Introducing a city to a person.” We’re praying that our posture would help people encounter the person and work of Christ. We don’t need to be a big deal for that to happen, we just need a maternal-like movement, those caring for those around them with a heartbeat for their humanity first.
So, that's why we are starting a church that looks this way. Are you interested in knowing more? Would you like to meet one of our team members? Would you like to be part of a church like this? We'd love to hear from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!