All churches were formed, planted, or created at some point in history. Whether we are talking about the early churches in the New Testament or the churches that are being established right now all across the world, each had its start at some point. Redemption is no exception. Over seven years ago, Redemption Church started in the living room of the Stinson’s home. As the church grew and more people started attending, it moved from their home to a conference room in the Dowd Y, then down to a gathering space at the entrance of the Dowd, and then to the gymnasiums where we currently meet.
Somehow, someway, Redemption grew. It grew from 15-20 individuals, who were called to start and grow the church in the uptown area, to what it is today. In the beginning, there were no community groups and discipleship pods. There was no stage to set up and lighting to manage. There was no worship team, no connections team, or no A/V team.
But you know what there was? People. People who wanted to know God, to know each other, and that so sincerely believed in the mission of Redemption that they decided to forgo an established church with everything that they could ask for and instead said “I have been called to this, and so I will go.” It paints a picture reminiscent of the early church in Acts 2:42-47.
And yet, as with all churches, Redemption is not perfect. As with all churches, there are hardships and frustrations. It initially saddened my own heart, but now has given me hope and strengthened my faith because “count it all to joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3).
If everything was perfect, and we all were to go our entire lives without trials and sufferings, where would be the motivation to truly rely on God? That we must put our hope and trust in Him?
I now know that these frustrations and challenges are experiences that help us to grow. To not only grow as a church, but as believers in what the church is built on. We must always come back to the Father. Make Him the center of your life and an overflow and outpouring like nothing else will invade every aspect of your life, including Redemption and its mission.
So, to revisit the image of the logo. Let me share with you the meaning, and what it signifies. The little blocks are people – us – that exist individually. But even more-so, the image itself is the representation of two things:
The rectangles are buildings – representing the city of Charlotte and the location of our church. We are in the city, and a part of it. We come together to not as individuals, but rather a body. One so strongly knitted and interlocked by faith in the Gospel and Jesus Christ that we can support each other through the power and strength of our Heavenly Father.
The blocks spread out at the bottom – representing the vision of Redemption. To go out into the city and serve as we have been called to serve: boldly, willingly, lovingly, and intentionally. And even more so, to show the city who Jesus is.
I want to leave you with something that has convicted me just recently – the Hebrew word Ruach. Meaning “breath, wind, or spirit”, it is the life-giving, all-powerful presence of the Lord. It was breathed into man in the beginning (Genesis 2:7), it withers the grass (Isaiah 40:7-8), and blows like a violent wind (Acts 2:1-4). From the mouth of the same God who breathes life, the Word was also breathed out (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When He speaks, light is created in darkness (Genesis 1:2), the mountains catch on fire (Exodus 19:16-19), the strongest of cedars break (Psalm 29:5), and is sharper than any double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12-13).
All of this culminates to one question: are you ready to be overwhelmed? To be broken? To have the deep-rooted cedars of sin and fear splintered? To be cut so deep by the voice and word of God that nothing of the world can heal you?
I want to share my prayer for us as a body of believers at Redemption as we enter this new season:
“Father. I pray that we would never forget the true calling that You have commissioned us to. Let it not so easily slip away and be forgotten as we live our lives. May we remember that You saved us. That Your Son sacrificed everything for us. May we live as how You called us to live – as Your children, finding absolute joy and happiness in You. Break the fears and sins in our hearts through the overwhelming and over-powering voice and wind that is from and of You. Help us remember what brought Redemption from a living room to a firmly rooted church in the city of Charlotte, and lay on our hearts a desire to continually love and serve each other, the church, and this community out of an overwhelming response to what Your Son did for us. Invade this space, and continue to guide us back to your loving embrace. Amen.”
This is who we are.
This is Redemption.