I have raised Him up in righteousness, and I will make straight all His ways: He shall build my City, and let my exiles go free (Is. 45.13).
The “City of God” is a theme that runs through the Bible like a crimson thread, from Genesis to Revelation. It is part of a complex of ideas that affirms the goodness of creation and God’s commitment to renew and restore it (and us) in Christ. It is a city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11.10). It is His holy commonwealth (Eph 2.12- 13, 19-22), a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden (Mt 5.14). It is a city with heavenly origins, but one that descends to earth to become the dwelling place of God (Rev 21-22). This does not happen automatically or magically. It happens as God’s people proclaim His Gospel and minister sacrificially in His name. Albanian Mission, is a Reformed and Presbyterian church-planting effort in Albania, supported and overseen by the session of Woodruff Road PCA, with the purpose of encouraging and assisting churches throughout the world to engage in building God’s City in Albania, and thus fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
The focus of our ministry is church planting. We aim to establish new parish-communities who will faithfully serve the Lord Jesus Christ in Albania. This parish approach to ministry is a guiding conviction for all that we do and is founded upon a distinct view of the Church. The Church is God’s New Creation. Christ Himself is the new Adam, and we, co-heirs with Him, are the new Humanity. With Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, a renewing and transforming power has been released upon the world (Rom 8.17-25; 1 Cor 15.20-26, 45). All that was enslaved by the evil one, all that has been in bondage to decay-our bodies and souls, the world in which we live, all of our relationships, and all that is good and beautiful about the creation as God intended it-is in process of being reclaimed, renewed and transformed by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. This renewal manifests itself in the midst of the Church. Like the first flowers to blossom in spring, she is the bud that will blossom into the fully renewed creation. The Church then, is something new and distinct that has burst in upon the old creation. She is not a ghetto within the old. She is not a private spiritual club, nor does she depend on another government, institution, or social entity. She is essentially, a community with her own integrity a holy commonwealth. This conviction is the basis for our commitment to a parish approach to ministry. The gospel renews human life in its entirety. It renews our hearts and minds, it renews our relationships, and it renews the social structures that shape our lives. Church planting then, is an effort to co-labor with the Holy Spirit, putting down deep roots into the communities where God has placed us. We preach to, catechize, and assume the pastoral care of all the people who live in a given neighborhood. This pastoral ministry is integrated with and supported by the following:
The first is diaconal ministry. Jesus always preached the gospel in the context of acts of compassion. We consider this not only one of our chief responsibilities, it is in fact, an integral and very practical effort that supports and advances the other aspects of our ministry. Teaching a congregation to have a conscience for mercy ministry, and how to implement this wisely and usefully, is not always easy, but we make it a major priority. This diaconal ministry could include relief, medical clinics, Christian schools, and strategic economic development, all within the context of a local parish.
Second, we engage in theological education under the oversight of local presbyteries (when such exist), training ministers, elders, and deacons for our own work, as well as for the broader Christian community.
Third, a church-owned publishing ministry in order to provide useful resources for pastors, elders, and laymen. Some of this should consist of translations of classic Reformed and Evangelical literature, and original material written in the mission field.
Fourth, a university ministry modeled on the Presbyterian Church in America’s Reformed University Fellowship. This will be an evangelistic and discipleship effort whose goals include the formation of a new generation of national leaders, who will be able to think, work, and live out their lives from the perspective of a consistent Christian worldview. Among other things, however, this is also an open and unabashed effort to “recruit” and disciple young men, who will be a new generation of ministers and leaders for the Church of Jesus Christ.