Back in January we publicly announced plans to launch a new Redemption congregation in South Scottsdale. A lot has developed in the past four months so I wanted to give a brief update, along with some of the vision driving it all.
A Unique Local Congregation
The beauty of the Redemption Church model is that each congregation is encouraged to contextualize its ministry and develop its own personality. Redemption Scottsdale will be unique. But we have stated from the beginning that our goal is to be faithful, not distinctive. There is a temptation in church planting to define yourself by how you are going to be different or better than other churches. But that simply feeds off of and fuels the consumer mentality plaguing the church. We don’t want to define ourselves by what we’re not or define ourselves in comparison We want to define ourselves by a clear sense of what we are for. You can read more about that in the Foundational Vision document linked to below.
A Home and a Future
Very early we began reaching out to churches in the area to build relationships; we were also looking for prospects on where we might be able to meet. One of the churches we connected with is Scottsdale Presbyterian (SPC), located on Hayden and Osborn. From the beginning the tone of our dialog was encouraging. We began talking about SPC’s possible transition out of their denomination (PCUSA) and the questions about what was next for them. As we got to know each other we shifted from discussing a lease agreement to discussing a more substantial coming together of the congregations and the prospect of SPC merging into Redemption Scottsdale. The past few months have been full of very candid dialog about what that might look like and a million moving pieces that will impact how this all plays out. It is very exciting, but there is a great deal of this story yet to be written.
For our immediate future, we signed a five year lease to meet on the SPC campus with essentially no monthly rent cost. When we launch we will be meeting in the fellowship hall on campus, a beautiful, intimate space (pictured below). The situation gives us years of stability in an ideal location. That, in itself, is an extravagant blessing from the Lord.
With an eye on the future, we are trying to be wise and deliberate at every turn, working hard to facilitate a healthy relationship between our two congregations. SPC’s pastor, Bruce Johnson, once told me that my first email to him was an “answer to prayer”. If our contact answered their prayer, their receptivity of us answered ours. It is humbling (and encouraging) to find that God had set things in motion well before Redemption Scottsdale was being discussed. Having things fall in our favor doesn’t inherently mean we’re in the center of God’s will. But it seems like His hand is clearly at work. We believe we are right where we’re supposed to be and there is reason to be optimistic that we are launching in our permanent home. It’s really incredible.
Loving Our Neighbors
If we are to be a truly local congregation we must develop eyes to see the people in our context that are hurting and/or pushed to the margins. One such community for us is the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, our literal neighbors to the east. Many would just assume think of the land east of the 101 as empty. But it is inhabited by a community, many living in extreme poverty, many who love Jesus, and many who don’t know Him at all. We are also building relationships with the elderly in our community, including a connection to local assisted living centers. This community, to our shame, is often forgotten by a culture that worships the idols of youth, beauty, and power. In these and other efforts we will be slow to build, fix, or teach anything. We’re not looking for projects to conquer or campaigns to win; we’re simply looking for neighbors to love. We will spend time learning and listening, investing in friendships out of which needs will be made known.
There is no formula for the Christian life, but there must be intentionality and it certainly helps when there is order. The latter two are what we are working hard to bring. We have a great team of leaders forming, including Rick Umble to lead worship and Tammy Lauterbach to lead Children’s Ministry. You can see an overview of our ministries at the link below. We will, of course, grow into these ministries and they will evolve. But our goal is to communicate a cohesive framework that helps people see how the pieces fit together and engage all aspects of the church with clarity and purpose.
Right now we are targeting September 13th as an official launch date of Sunday services. That may need to flex, but nothing concrete has forced us to change the date yet. Until then we are gathering monthly, organizing ministry, and forming relationships. If you are interested in staying in the loop, the best way to do so is to sign up for the email list at the link below. Subscribing doesn’t commit you to anything and you can unsubscribe at any time. The emails will let you know when gatherings are happening, what they latest developments are, and how you can be involved.
We’re looking for two types of financial giving to support Redemption Scottsdale. 1) Those who will call Redemption Scottsdale their home church are invited to transfer their regular giving to the plant. 2) Those who might stay with their existing church (which is great) but would like to support the work of Redemption Scottsdale can help us out tremendously by giving resources. Much of the giving at this point will go to the significant startup costs that any new endeavour faces. Specifically, we will be making some improvements to the campus of SPC to get it ready for launch. Although we will not have a monthly rent, we need to put significant money into things like children’s classrooms that haven’t seen regular use in years. Please consider contributing if you can.
It goes without saying, we covet your prayers. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. We believe we’re in the right place, headed in the right direction. Pray for continued blessing and increased wisdom. Pray that God would continue to knit a healthy community together.
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Email any questions you have to email@example.com.