On Sunday, January 11th, we publicly announced the planning of a new Redemption Church congregation in Southern Scottsdale. It was an exciting moment for me; I’ve been personally thinking and praying about this for over two years.
The public announcement marks a beginning of sorts, but it is not a new or undeveloped idea. A new congregation in Scottsdale, led by me, has been at the forefront of Redemption leadership’s thoughts, prayers, and dialog for over a year. Redemption is very clear that we are a church planting church; we exist to birth and strengthen healthy local congregations. But the question of whether to start or accept a new congregation is not a simple one. It is filled with theological, philosophical, and pragmatic considerations. Who will lead it? Where will it be? When should it start? How will it impact existing communities? In the end, Redemption has no agenda to multiply at a certain rate or stake claim to certain areas. We simply want to respond when there is a perceived need for a healthy local church – especially one like Redemption – combined with an opportunity and leaders who are both called and capable. Ultimately we felt that those elements were in alignment in Scottsdale.
Vision for Redemption Scottsdale
In the planning and commitment stage of church planting that we’re now in, it’s natural to talk about what will make this new expression of the church unique. It’s 100% appropriate to ask the question, but I want to make sure we check our hearts and our focus as we address it. That’s because it is very easy for church planting to become a prideful endeavor built on personal agendas and egos. There can be a temptation to define ourselves by how we are different or better than other churches, but this simply feeds off of and fuels the consumer mentality plaguing the church. And if we view our city as a marketplace where we are competing with other churches for attention and consumers, we have lost our way before we even started. God should not bless such efforts.
Instead, our goal in planting this new congregation in Scottsdale is to use all of the creativity, insight, education, experience, and spiritual gifts God has given us to establish a faithful community in our unique context. To do so we are studying the idols of our culture, the direction of our society, the needs of our neighbors, the developments in the Church, and humbly seeking the most effective means of bringing the Gospel to bear in our time and in our place. We hope to learn from others and collaborate with many.
We exist because of, and for, the mission of God. We cannot lose sight of this or stray from it. As Michael Goheen has said, “This is the mission of God: to restore the creation and the life of humanity from the ravages of sin. The church’s function in this story is to participate in God’s mission; we are to be caught up in God’s own work of restoration and healing. This defines the identity and role of the church.” It’s critical that we understand our identity and purpose as the church, in the light of the full Gospel story, so that we can be focused and intentional in our efforts.
I’ve put together a ten-page vision document, a Prospectus, that expands on this. It’s meant to articulate the foundation that we will be building upon. I invite you to open/download the document, read it and share it.
If you are interested in learning more about the plans for Redemption Scottsdale I want to invite you to 1) introduce yourself and subscribe to our mailing list at redemptionscottsdale.com and 2) join us for an Info Meeting on Sunday, January 25th at 5pm at Redemption Arcadia. Neither of these will require any commitment on your part, but both will help you get a sense of what’s happening and how you can get involved.