What will CityLights Church look like in the next five years?
For a long time, I did not want to talk about numbers in front of the church. Let me rephrase that: for a long time I was scared to talk about numbers in front of the church. There is such a negative connotation related to numbers and congregation size due to past experiences and abuse. For many, big churches equates to service driven or lack of community. I resisted for such a long time to discuss topics pertaining numbers because of the tainted image that people quickly reference as soon as the topic is brought up. If we do not talk about numbers then we will be doing God and Citylights an injustice. In my heart I know that thousands will call CityLights home. God desires people to meet Jesus and be discipled. That is our mission—to seek and save the lost. If we are going to do this then we have to think big!
Below you will find two lists: one geared towards vision and goals and the other focused on general areas I believe Jesus expects from us as a Gospel-centered church body.
1. 2,000 people in weekly attendance
a. If we don’t plan for growth we will only respond to growth.
b. I would rather plan and fail then fail to plan.
c. We will believe God not only to add disciples to our church but also believe that these people will commit to a life on life approach to community and discipleship.
2. 4 campuses in Chicago-land area (own 1 rent 3)
a. We’re still exhausting our options to purchase a building to house our current membership as well as establish a headquarters for offices and training.
b. We will seek to rent out venues to place three more campuses in convenient locations to allow maximum exposure and make it easy for people to get to church on Sundays via all types of public and personal transportation.
3. Church plants
a. Church plant definition: Antonymous community of disciples
b. Praying for at least 1 antonymous church to be established by 2018
c. Locally or globally
4. 100 Community Groups / 75 next generation leaders
a. 20 people on average if everyone joined a group
b. I’d rather aim high and miss, then aim low and hit
5. Full-time staff
a. In 2015 I’m planning on making the biggest financial risk for full time staff
i. We’re looking for a small well paid staff that can multitask
ii. Positions: TBD
6. Publish 2 pieces of literature
1. Gospel centered preaching: God wants us to see, through creation, through the incarnation, through the crucifixion, through the resurrection, His glorious power and the riches of His grace. CityLights is a Gospel centered church, and since the main message of the Bible is the person and work of Jesus Christ, teaching and preaching must be centered on the Gospel.
2. Passionate worship: As we faithfully teach about the glory of Jesus, naturally we should find our congregation experiencing “passionate worship” in song and prayer. The early church always worshiped in awe of all that the Lord did among them—do we worship the same way?Revelation4:10-11 They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
3. Outreach: We will serve the neighborhoods we currently reside in with acts of kindness and the love of Jesus. We want to build a place where the community can gather for corporate worship and find available resources because of us going outside the four walls of the church. (Matt 5:13-16)
4. Community: We are family. As our Triune God exists in perfect unity in the Godhead, we exist to live in community with fellow disciples, in order to follow the biblical example of living life together, being a community, caring for one another, worshipping together corporately, being accountable to one another, while discovering and applying biblical truth together. We can love one another and support each other, but there will be times when we will hurt and differ from one another. We will work through our differences because families fight differently than enemies.
5. Generosity: We exist that we might encourage every follower of Jesus to see that the Holy Spirit has called us into the body of believers and has graciously gifted us to love, serve, and build up one other, and to contribute through what God has provided us with: our time, talent, and treasures. God has given us everything—even His own Son to reconcile us back to Him. He gave us this Earth, this life, and is preparing a place in heaven. We will be a generous church because we represent the God who gave it all.
6. Baptisms: Baptisms are a very big deal at CityLights. As many that are filled with the Holy Spirit and informed by the word of God, they will be baptized. For those who have professed faith in Christ, baptism is the outward evidence of the Holy Spirit’s inward work on the heart. It’s a victory!
7. Gathering: We believe that a Christ-centered community is best achieved by meeting both corporately on Sundays and in a smaller group setting in different homes all around the city. A Gospel centered church is full of disciples who gather together regularly on Sundays and informally during the week (Community Groups). Community Groups also allows us to sharpen one another so that we are continually transformed into the image of Christ.
8. Evangelism: I believe it’s time for us to purposely begin to preach the gospel boldly in different settings. A) Community after community. B) house to house c) life on life. We will be equipping the church in order to see more Christians, more churches, and more lives changed for Jesus.
9. God fearing Leadership: The senior pastor of CityLights and the Church as a whole is Jesus. 1 Peter 5 says he is our chief Shepherd. Every elder, deacon, community group leader, and team leader is to follow Him. Everyone must follow Jesus and the leaders He has placed to oversee them. Everyone in a Gospel centered church, including myself, needs to be under godly authority.
10. Making Disciples: We strive to be a church on mission for Jesus, making disciples that touch their world with the love of Jesus. It’s a call to discipleship; it’s a call to make disciple-making disciples. We offer various venues to aid you in not only your development as a disciple, but also to help you in your ability to aid in the making of disciples like Sunday services, Community Groups, and Boot camp.
11. Prayer: Our biggest desire is to cultivate a heart of prayer within God’s children. How beautiful will it be to see brothers and sisters frequently speaking to the father personally and collectively entering worship with the same heart? In addition to prayer taking place in our Community Groups, I would like to install a weekly prayer service and invite God’s people to seek God in prayer collectively.
Ministries, organizations, and causes will fade away but there is only one thing that will last forever—Jesus Christ’s church. My prayer is that we continue to grow as a Gospel centered church one disciple at a time.
Lead pastor of preaching and vision