From its inception the Ren community has placed a high priority on serving people outside the walls of the church. We are intentional about not becoming cloistered and disconnected from society. We believe we are called to be "in the world and yet not of it". We are to bring the light of the Gospel to our city. We are driven by the basic belief that there are thousands of people in our city who are ready for God. We believe our job is to find them, introduce them to Christ and then help them grow.
In the early years we ran a small non-profit called West Side Arts that aimed to serve the artistic community in Providence. We had regular gallery and performance nights as a way to build relationship with people and share God's love. We have partnered with the RI Film Fest, Columbus Theatre, West Broadway Neighborhood Association, local businesses and other non-profits on the West Side to do a variety of community events. We place high value on partnering rather than always creating a Christian version of things already happening in the city.
When we moved to the Southside of Providence in 2009 our focus shifted to serve the richly diverse neighborhoods around the church. We formed partnerships with Elmwood Community Center, International Institute, Providence Rescue Mission, Rise, Family Services, Res Ave elementary school, Alvarez high school, Elisha Project and several churches. We have also created a wide variety of outreaches such as Dream Factory (for kids), community festivals, neighborhood clean up days and special concerts. Perhaps the most impactful efforts have been our Christmas and Easter "encounter" productions. We transform our entire space into an interactive experience utilizing music, art, technology and design that hundreds have been blessed by.
It should be mentioned also that we have a special heart for local churches and especially for helping new church plants. We host a weekly prayer meeting on Fridays for local pastors to be refreshed. We have played a large role in creating gatherings and festivals through the years that bring together a wide variety of local churches. We have a strong conviction that God's purposes will be best fulfilled as churches in the city become one in heart.
While we believe strongly in the importance of fusing together our best to build beautiful outreaches to serve church neighbors we also recognize that each person at Ren has their own mission field, in a sense, where they live and work. The pastors and leaders of Ren work hard to equip the church to share the Gospel and spread God's love in tangible ways in each person's sphere of influence. We don't advocate "preaching at people" or evangelizing in ways that are relationally deficient. We believe that Christ shared the Good News naturally and effectively everywhere He went and we are following His example.
In Summer of 2018 we launched our CityLove initiative, commissioning 8 fully funded full-time "urban missionaries" who are working together to serve the city in creative ways. Our prayer is that CityLove will bring God's love to as many people as possible. Learn more: CitylovePVD.org