My wife and I are often amazed at how deeply and quickly Metro has become a big part of our lives. We feel very embedded in the community, serving and being served, living life together. But we still feel new enough that we have a bit of outside perspective, able to see and appreciate things about Metro that perhaps others might take for granted. I’d like to share three things I’ve come to really love about Metro in the few short months that our family has been here.
1. A Great City
I love that Metro exists to have not a great church, but a great city. As sociologist Saskia Sassen puts it, the city is the new human frontier. The people of the world are flocking to urban areas like never before. The city, with all its greatness and brokenness, presents a challenging but incredible opportunity and need for the gospel. The vision of Metro is not to be the biggest church we can possibly be, but to love the city and seek its peace and prosperity. It is to pursue justice and mercy, to show and tell about the healing and redemption Jesus brings. It is to see Philadelphia thrive and flourish, becoming a theater of God’s glory in her arts, business, politics, and scholarship. It is a ridiculously big vision! But this vision is not too big for God, and so our pursuit of it is very exciting to get behind.
2. A Place of Refuge
I love how Metro has worked very hard to be a place of welcome and refuge for the unchurched and dechurched. Often, churches can feel like private country clubs, existing only to protect and promote the interests of those on the inside. But, as Harvie Conn said, the church must recapture its identity as the only institution in the world that exists for the sake of its nonmembers. From the interpersonal warmth of the members to the careful design of the worship service elements, Metro is committed to serving those who do not believe (yet) as we do. Since Metro’s launch, 80% of the church’s growth has come from those previously not attending a church. Testimonies of people discovering (or rediscovering) the gospel are quite common here. Metro is laboring in the harvest, and Christ is building His church. It is amazing to see!
3. Centered on the Gospel
I love how Metro is uncompromisingly, unapologetically, and ruthlessly centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. We wholeheartedly believe that everything we do is driven by it. We don’t just talk about the gospel, but shape everything with it! From the preaching and teaching to the music ministry, children’s ministry, community groups and even the reflection quotes provided in the bulletins, the lifeblood of this church is deep amazement and appreciation of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. It is what we want every man, woman, and child we serve to know and build their life upon.
Will it Last?
These are great things! But they are very tenuous and fragile things. It doesn’t take much to hijack or drift from them. The moment we stop pursuing these things, we lose them! It is hard work, but it is glorious work, and it is work that we are not left to do on our own strength but by the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16). — Sherwin currently serves as a Church Planting Intern at Metro Presbyterian Church along with his wife Judy and three beautiful children: Nathan, Noah, and Nicholas.