The Multi-Congregational Approach
What is multi-congregational?
As a multi-congregational church, Hope Alliance has purposely chosen to be one church with multiple local expressions across the Lehigh Valley. We are one church because we share our name, our identity, our overall leadership and our resources.
Yet, while remaining one church we believe the best possible way to impact our region is to empower multiple local congregations. These congregations have their own pastor and their own unique ministry to best fit their local context. We believe having diversity in our congregations brings a vibrancy and health to the greater body of Hope Alliance that would otherwise be missed. And we believe that our collaboration as one church increases our ability to make the gospel known across our region.
As a multi-congregational church, each congregation has committed to be fully dedicated to the greater vision and identity of Hope Alliance and to continuing to see new local congregations established and empowered.
Why choose a multi-congregational approach?
The truth is that the local church doesn’t exist for itself. The church is meant to be all about Jesus and inviting other people into the life that He offers.
If we are truly committed to this, then it is incumbent upon us to embrace an organizational structure that best seeks to pursue it. We believe a multi-congregational approach does just that for these reasons.
1. Following in the Footsteps of the Early Church
This multi-congregational expression of church looks and feels a lot like what was happening in the church at its inception in the book of Acts. Even in cities, the local church consisted of smaller expressions of church (congregations) that met in various locations.
This contextual, agile structure allowed the church to be powerfully relational and experience continued gospel impact.
2. Finding the Balance Between Bigger and Smaller
In our world there are churches of many different sizes, which appeal to different kinds of people.
Bigger churches often have resources to do bigger things and have wider impact.
Smaller churches often provide a place where people can belong, have meaningful connections and feel like part of a family.
We believe our vision for our church takes these two realities, along with others, and makes them both possible at the same time. As one church we can have significant impact and launch significant initiatives. As local congregations, we can create spaces for people to belong and experience real community.
3. Focusing on the Sent-ness of the Church
We believe that the church is called to be a gospel outpost to the community around it. As we seek to reach out to the entire Lehigh Valley, a multi-congregational approach allows us to establish multiple outposts in various communities while still functioning as one church.
Our local congregations are places where people can worship in their community while serving and seeking the good of their community as well.
We value the sent nature of the church, worshipping in and serving various communities throughout the region.
4. Freeing up Opportunities for Gospel Impact
As a church we want to position ourselves to be able to reach as many people as possible with the life and freedom of the gospel. This means creating gospel outposts in all kinds of places to connect with all kinds of people
This kind of ministry is often difficult to sustain because it cannot always support itself financially. As a church, however, we envision being able to reach into various places with culturally appropriate and innovative ministry initiatives that can be sustained by the church as a whole.
We envision being able to reach people who wouldn’t come to a regular church gathering, reaching into urban communities, and reaching immigrant communities amongst many other realities.