Here it is, our first ever blog post on our new website! We planted Redeemer back in April 2014. With a handful of people, we met to pray and talk about a church plant in the city of Tauranga. Since the beginning we have always been asked, “why plant another church?”, and we still get asked that same question today. So I thought I’d let you in on the answer I usually give. This isn’t the exhaustive list of why we should plant churches (there’s a stack of stuff out there on it) and this post isn’t an in depth needs analysis of why we did what we did…
1) The statistics: Tauranga is one of the fastest growing cities in Aotearoa. More people, more jobs, more innovation, more study options; things are getting pretty busy in our city. What is noticeable is with the population increase there are also fewer and fewer people identifying as Christian and participating in a local church. It is clear that existing churches need to engage our city with the gospel of Jesus Christ, but additionally there is a need for new churches to be planted throughout the city to reach the city. Both international research and experience show that having more churches in a community increase the number of people who participate in a Christian community and identify as Christian.
2) Our theology: Redeemer Church has a number of core theological convictions that we believe are part of a healthy gospel centred church. We hold to the Protestant Reformation teaching that God’s rescue comes by grace alone, through faith alone, in the Person and work of Christ alone as revealed in the Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone. This is not to say that other churches don’t believe this but we felt convinced that there needed to be a church with these convictions in Tauranga.
3) Our philosophy: Similar to our theology, we have some strong convictions around how our church would “be” a church. We considered what our philosophy of ministry would look like in our corporate gatherings, reaching our city and making disciples. Again, it’s not to say that other churches in the city aren’t convinced of the things we are, but we believe that the Lord is leading us to be a particular kind of church a certain way.
4) Growing disciples: Church planting provides an amazing context for the development of disciples. In the initial stages of a church plant everyone is involved as there are no real established programmes or rhythms. If a need is identified, it is up to someone to address it, not the staff, not the aunty who always takes care of the meal roster… it’s you. People need to get equipped, serve, give and love because it needs to get done.
5) We felt called. Ellen and I had been talking about church planting for years. We prayed, spent time in the Word, read books, gone to conferences, got assessed for church planting, talked with friends and family. We never had a ‘burning bush’ experience to tell us to plant Redeemer but we had a solid conviction and deep love for the city of Tauranga it seemed right to us and what the Lord was leading us in.
We are 3 years into this journey and Jesus has been true to his Word that he would build his church. We have seen it, lived it, loved it and have been so unbelievably thankful to be part of such a great church. I am excited for what’s ahead of us; more things to learn, more opportunities to love people, and more of Jesus and his gospel to know and make known here in Tauranga. We started Redeemer preaching through Philippians and chapter 3:10-11 has been our desire since day one; “that (we) may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”