Throughout the CityLove site there are references to “Ren”: that's a nickname for Renaissance Church.
Ren is located at 184 Broad Street in the city (across from Classical field) and began in 2003 at the Columbus Theatre. What started with about a dozen people has grown to several hundred. The community is rich in diversity and is full of college students, families, all different ethnicities and varying economic levels. It’s a nondenominational church aiming to live out the teachings of Jesus without excessive Christian culture baggage. The mission of the church is to move people into the full expression of who they are created to be.
It’s by no means a perfect church. The people who make up the community are at all different levels spiritually. And many who attend are not yet Christian but just curious to learn.
The church was started as a sort of experiment to create something for artists, progressive thinkers and younger adults because it seemed like these types didn’t fit well into most churches.
Though it’s not without challenges we strive to be a place that transcends cultural barriers that divide. We really don’t like that the most segregated hour of the week is Sunday morning, as someone once said. We are striving to be a community of all nations that really reflects the diversity of the city.
While we are very open-minded, we do hold a firm view that the Bible is God’s Word. We don’t always understand the Bible and most of us have lots of unanswered questions. We are learning to trust God and embrace the mystery. I suppose we could be labeled “evangelical” but most of us cringe at that label because of how the word has become almost synonymous with unkind extreme political zealot types.
We aren’t like that. Or at least we try not to be. We strive to have a posture toward our city of compassion and listening. We don’t believe Jesus is angry and judging everyone. We believe He came into the world not to condemn everyone but to reconcile people to God, to bring us home into the arms of our Creator.
I think for many of us we find it natural to not be against anyone. We can love addicts and guys in prison and the sexually immoral and societal outcasts because deep down we know we aren’t any different. Many of us come from deep pits of sin and are very aware of how ridiculous it would be for us to point the finger of judgement. We are just trying to point people to an endless supply of spiritual bread and water that we’ve discovered. We have been so transformed by Christ that we find it hard not to want to bring people we love with us on the journey.
We are serious about following the teachings of Christ. In other words, most of us feel that if we are going to follow Christ then we have to be genuine. We really seek to know God, which is why the practice of prayer is a driving passion. I guess, in one sense, we aren’t “liberal”. But we also don’t fit the conservative label well. As someone aptly said, “we are too conservative for the liberals and too liberal for the conservatives”. But maybe that means we're like Jesus? Anyhow, we aren’t trying to fit into any label and it’s probably the reason we haven't found a denomination that suits us.
We want more than anything to resemble the heart of Jesus. We thought it was important to give a little portrait of Ren in this space because CityLove is an outflow of her. CityLove is like the arm of the church into the city. You can find much more about Ren on our website. Or come to one of our gatherings. We welcome all. One of our frequent mottos is “come as you are”. It’s a church for the city.