istanbulprojesi desires to be a church that the cosmopolitan people of İstanbul can both cherish and make sense of. We desire to embody what church could look like in 21st century modern İstanbul, while simultaneously valuing our rich spiritual heritage of 2000+ years. To offer you an insight into our vision, we crafted the above statement.
Our Identity. Contrary to the assumption of most people today, church is not a building: It’s all about people and relationships. We serve the city and each other through making Jesus the center of our lives, while carrying on the practices of the church from the times of Jesus.
Our Aspiration. “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:7) This was God’s message to his people in Old Testament times. Taking on this challenge, we seek to love God and our neighbors by partnering with others to bring about a city that is a thriving and good place to live for all.
Our spiritual journey to know and enjoy God starts with God’s desire to reconcile men through Jesus Christ. God, whom we as humans have disrespected, disobeyed, and dishonored, draws near and reaches out to us through Jesus. This is the gospel, which is both the power for and shaping factor of all we do (Romans 1:16; Galatians 2:14). All our core values flow from the gospel.
Through our belief in Jesus we desire to live life together with all people of İstanbul, celebrating God’s wonderful creation through community, food, art, music, and work. We desire to be a community in which we bear one another’s burdens, rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Galatians 6:5, Romans 12:15).
Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself is the essence of what we are called to as people living in the city (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37-39). Through the gospel we see that every human being is created in the image of God and thus precious and valuable, regardless of ethnicity, religion, citizenship, or socio-economic class.
The gospel humbles people with means and power, showing them that they are no better than anyone else before God. At the same time it also lifts up the poor and broken, giving them a new identity and confidence in Christ. While concern for the needy is in no way a means of salvation, a life poured out in deeds of mercy and justice is a sign that the heart has been changed by grace. We desire to serve our communities and neighborhoods by pursuing that.
As we emphasize the teaching of Jesus, that church is not a building but the people who form a community of friends, we like to introduce some of the people that carry the vision of the istanbulprojesi. We look forward getting to know you.