We are a church…
In the fall of 2007, a group of believers in Denver began to meet, discuss, and pray about the vision of planting a church in downtown Denver. We rented a room in the basement of a church building at 18th and Broadway and cast the vision to a larger group. By the summer of 2008, about fifty adults had come together to form this new body. Sunday services and home-based community groups began in the fall of 2008, and a church body was born. At Providence, we make clear that the church is a body, not a building. It’s life lived together, not just a gathering on a weekend. It’s a group of people on mission with God, not a social club. We love the church--the people of God. As we have journeyed together for the past few years, God has continued to build his church, and we are grateful. We hope these pages will give glory to the God who has made it all possible and upon whom we depend for the year to come. Hebrews 10:22-25 “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
From the beginning, we have asked people to make a commitment to Christ and his church. The mission is serious. The laborers are few. The obstacles are many. And Jesus only talked about one brand of Christianity – radical commitment! At Providence, our core commitments come out of our identities as believers related to God.
- We Gather throughout the week. Why? God is our Father, and that makes us a family.
- We Grow through Community Groups. Why? Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and trained others, so we should be disciples who make disciples.
- We Give to one another. Why? Jesus is our Master, and we are servants who are his hands and feet on the earth.
- We Go into the community. Why? Jesus came to earth and lived among the people to show what God was like, and we model him as a missionary.
- Every member makes all four commitments as part of their covenant with one another.
Luke 9:57-62 “As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Philippians 3:8 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
…to one mission…
Providence derived its name from the state motto of Colorado, "Nil Sine Numine," which means “Nothing without Providence.” In other words, the state founders realized that nothing happens in the land of the Rockies without the hand of God. We believe this idea has been lost in our state, and we endeavor to be salt and light in our city so that all people, believers and non-believers, will glorify God as the Gospel changes lives. What is our mission? Our mission, by God’s grace, is to be a church committed to one mission with one people in one place for life. How do we accomplish this mission? We unite together as a collection of home fellowships to make disciples of Jesus Christ who will make disciples. Acts 2:42-47 "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."
…with one people…
We started Providence with the intention of being ethnically, generationally, and socio-economically diverse. We believe it is a testimony to the great power of the Gospel that people from different races, classes and age groups gather together to be one body. However, our core group was made up of twelve middle class believers who were all Caucasian except for one. We prayed, served, loved, and constantly talked about our heart and God’s heart in this area. God began to open doors, and relationships began to develop. Today, we celebrate the fact that the congregation is becoming increasingly more diverse in all areas. We have in no way arrived. However, we were blessed and encouraged to be selected by Leadership Network as one of twelve churches nationally to participate in their first learning community of multi-ethnic churches. Leadership Network studies trends in the church-at-large, and when they see something becoming a movement, they bring leaders together to network and resource the movement of God. Ephesians 2:13-16 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”
…in one place…
By God’s grace, we would like to change the world for Christ. But we’re not really trying to change the world. To be honest, we’re not even trying to change our city. We’d be thrilled to change some neighborhoods…nine of them. While we are made up of suburban and urban Christians, we are all united behind the mission of claiming Gospel responsibility for nine neighborhoods that sit inside twelve square miles.
When we came together as a body, we started talking about a lifetime commitment. In a highly mobile culture, deep relationships are rare. In a poverty-stricken neighborhood, change is hard. In a racially divided city, trust has to be developed over time. In a “Facebook friend” culture, true friends are hard to find. In a church-hopping culture, commitment is hard to find. Therefore, we regularly talk about hunkering down for life with one another. Over the last three years, many of us have seen what looks like greener grass, but we reject it as a lie. People are people. Churches are churches. Sin is sin. Grace is grace. Nothing is richer in life than knowing others and being known, loving others and being loved. Good relationships take time to develop, and the best relationships work through difficulties to reach a point of unconditional love and acceptance. In order to see deep, lasting change in our community, we believe it will take a lifetime commitment by an army of Christ-followers who are committed to God, each other, and the community.
We chose this area because…
- It is racially diverse with almost an equal split of Latinos, African-Americans, and Caucasians when we began the ministry.
- It is the historic center of poverty in our city. We have over 50 food banks and only a handful of grocery stores. Almost 10,000 of the 57,000 residents are vulnerable children (born to teen moms or on Free and Reduced School Lunch Program).
- It is a gentrifying area, thus putting the wealthy in close proximity to the poor. However, it is a divided community where most people tend to stay in their comfort zones.
Our desire is not necessarily to build a big church, but rather to have a big impact. We believe that a critical mass of believers focused on a small geographic area could have a deep impact in all areas of the community.