March 18, 2020

Hope City Church - A New Church Focused on the Ends

Steve Doerksen

One day a newlywed young lady was preparing to put a roast into the oven when her husband noticed something strange.  He asked her, “Why did you cut the ends off of the roast before you put it in the oven?”  She thought for a second and then replied, "I don't know, it’s what my mom always did."  Now suddenly curious herself, the young woman called her mom after dinner and asked, "Mom, why do you cut the ends off a pot roast before you cook it?" Her mom answered, "I don't know. That's just the way my mom always cooked it."  Determined to discover the truth the young woman visited her grandmother on the following day. Fortunately, her Grandma had the answer she was seeking and the answer made the young woman laugh, "When I was first married we had a very small oven, and the pot roast didn't fit unless I cut the ends off."

If you ever wonder why the churches we plant don’t look exactly like other association churches, this story is the answer.  While one church needs to cut the ends off the roast another one keeps both ends, yet another may in fact cook a roast twice the size.  Another church serves an “Impossible Roast” meat substitute, and yet another church throws in a bunch of potatoes and carrots and onions to cook with the roast.  In other words, each church must contextualize what a “church” looks like within the framework of biblical ecclesiology (and within a few additional parameters if it’s going to be a part of the SWCC.)     


A congregation might have its own building or it might rent space or meet in a home.  It may have a ministry to children or maybe not.  It could have a coffee shop, greeters, stadium seating, professional musicians, stained glass, a pulpit, liturgy, teaching in Spanish, a single bi-vocational pastor, a team of full-time pastors, etc.  The menu of stylistic options are beyond count.  When I planted MVCC in 2005, we saw many people come to faith in Christ and our church grew rapidly from a dozen to over 200 in a short time.  Our ministry was effective in spite of not having our own building and not doing traditional programming.  It was God working through our willingness to rent space from a school in the middle of a population boom, plus our commitment to offer programs specifically tailored to the young families living in our neighborhood.   


I see the same thing happening in a current church plant of ours.  When Hope City Church launched a couple years ago in southeast Tucson on the 22nd Street Corridor, their focus was on reaching the people in their community.  From day one, Pastor Jeff and his team have been ministering to broken and homeless people.  Some of these are struggling with addiction issues while others doubt their value in the eyes of God and society.  Some question their gender identity and sexual orientation.  Most wonder whether they would even be welcomed if they entered a church service.  HCC has embraced the herculean task of loving these marginalized people and leading them to Christ.  They’ve formed unique partnerships and programs and brought in community resources in away that I have never seen in one of our churches.  Praise God, many people are being touched and some of these people are finding their way into HCC Sunday services and have received Christ.  To receive broken people into a church community can prove to be a daunting task but fortunately, Pastor Jeff knew what he was getting into from the get-go and HCC has designed a strategy to suit.  For this reason, HCC chooses not to cut off the ends of the roast.  In fact, HCC is the church who found a bunch of ends on the ground and said, “let’s not forget these!”



Steve Doerksen

Church Planting & Connection Groups