REPLANTING REDEMPTION

Small Groups

Key to the process of replanting Redemption Church is thinking intentionally about the output of each ministry housed under our roof. We’ve repeatedly emphasized our vision; “we are a community striving to be faithfully present to God, self and others.” To that end, we are remaining focused on our convictions while simultaneously expanding the definition of what a Small Group is at Redemption. In other words, our vision becomes the lens by which we evaluate the effectiveness of a group.

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In creation, we observe that God is creative, ordered, and rhythmical. All of creation fitting together perfectly. Reading the opening pages of Genesis we notice intentional patterns that are designed to teach us something about life. We see God creating morning and evening, land and sea, birds and fish, male and female. This reflects the creative beauty of God! As his image bearers, we learn that an ordered life is the result of remaining present to God and therefore establishing rhythms and patterns for growth, rest, play, and serving others. Our Small Groups will gather at established times, in different settings, around different topics and activities all aimed toward remaining faithfully present to God,  self, and others. Some examples of the kinds of activities

are:

  • sermon based study groups
     

  • book study groups
     

  • jogging groups
     

  • hiking groups
     

  • cycling groups
     

  • walking the lake
     

  • podcast groups

  • entrepreneur groups
     

  • cooking or dinner groups
     

  • sewing/knitting groups
     

  • new moms/new dads groups
     

  • prayer groups
     

  • parenting groups
     

FAITHFUL PRESENCE IN SMALL GROUPS — TO GOD

 

Regardless of the catalyst for bringing the group together (cooking, walking, book study, etc.), as Christians, we are striving to be present to God. Our groups should be focused on reminding members of our identity in Him and the practical application of the Gospel in our lives. In other words, the Gospel message and the Holy Spirit’s guidance shapes how we view and live our lives. There are lots of groups that walk together in Seattle around all kinds of causes. We walk with Jesus and lean into His presence in community with one another.

 

FAITHFUL PRESENCE IN SMALL GROUPS — TO SELF

 

Our groups should be marked by honesty, authenticity and vulnerability. When we commit to a Small Group, we’re committed to being known and sharing our true selves. We’re collectively processing our lives together, celebrating together, grieving together; living life together. This also means that we aren’t simply meeting to participate in an activity. We can of course do that, but we’re intentionally creating space to share and be known.

 

 

FAITHFUL PRESENCE IN SMALL GROUPS — TO OTHERS

 

We love our city. More importantly, Jesus loves our city! God’s people were always intended to bless those around them — the nations, the cities, and our neighbors. Co-laboring together is also a way to be known. Serving others gives us the opportunity to love our city in practical, meaningful ways and to do so with those in which we find ourselves in community.

 

Service opportunities are by no means limited to these categories, but the Redemption is actively organizing and focusing on serving what are traditionally marginalized communities: our unhoused neighbors, refugees, local title one schools, and the elderly. During each group window, we’d ask that groups participate with one of the available projects. Remember, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” God’s Spirit is uniquely present to those who are giving their time to serving others. Your joy will increase as you seek to bless those in need.

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GROUP WINDOWS

Intentionality is a major focus on our change to Small Groups. We want to emphasize consistency and commitment — both fundamental elements of faithful presence. To that end, we’ve broken our year up into three “windows.” The windows are designed to give our groups time to lean into the natural rhythms of growth and rest, service and play; as we pause for several weeks, we’re creating margin in order to have people over for dinner, engage our neighbors or find additional areas to serve.

 

We’ve also added “intentional pauses” to the schedule. As we establish rhythms with our groups, pausing for several weeks ensures that there is margin available to have people over for dinner, engage our neighbors or find additional areas to serve.

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CASE STUDY — SMALL BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR GROUP

 

We want you to get an idea of how these groups might organize and operate to be a group that is faithfully present to itself, God and others. In this case, let’s assume we have 6 people in our church who operate businesses — large or small.

WEEK ONE

90 minutes

  • Gather at a coffee shop before work.

  • Introduce yourselves and share work & faith background.

  • Determine discussion subjects for the remaining weeks.

WEEK TWO

90 minutes

  • Gather at a coffee shop before work.

  • Discussion around compensation for employees in an expensive city.

  • Discuss how the Gospel and Scripture might inform that conversation.

WEEK THREE

120 minutes

  • Gather for Happy Hour after work.

  • Share how life (work & personal) is going and pray for one another.

SERVICE PROJECT

 

Participate in the World Relief gardening project

WEEK FOUR

120 minutes

  • Gather at a coffee shop before work.

  • Discussion around managing work/life balance.

  • Discuss how the Gospel and Scripture might inform that conversation.

WEEK FIVE

90 minutes

  • Gather at a coffee shop before work.

  • Discussion around securing financing and planning for strategic expansion

  • Discuss how the Gospel and Scripture might inform that conversation.

WEEK SIX

120 minutes

  • Gather for Happy Hour after work.

  • Share how life (work & personal) is going and pray for one another.

As you can see, the purpose is gathering together around a common interest, but to do so with the intention of more than merely “talking shop.” We want to grow deeply in our relationships with God and one another while remembering to love and serve those in need around us in our city.

 

Faithful Presence to Others | Redemption Kids

 

 

Our Redemption Kids Ministry couldn’t be more blessed to have Buggy Castro leading! Buggy has been a member of Redemption for four years. She and her husband Kirk have served us faithfully throughout and to have her leading in Redemption Kids is an honor. Since jumping onto the team, she’s brought several new creative ideas to love our kids during our time of staying at home. She also has a passion for seeing our kids grow as followers of Jesus as servants of the King! Part of implementing our vision of faithful presence to others involves discipling our kids in the area of serving others. Buggy recently said, “You know, kids feel more connected to the church when they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves. I want them to know that serving others is a normal aspect of following Jesus for all of our lives.”

 

 

Beyond discipling our kids, she knows firsthand how much our Sunday School teachers sacrifice in order to bless our children. Historically, we’ve asked our members who have children in Redemption Kids to volunteer once a month on Sunday morning rotation so as to provide opportunities to the other parents to worship at least 3/4 Sunday’s a month.

 

 

One thing to pray for that as we reopen, we anticipate that it will likely go slowly as people become more and more comfortable in crowds. As our congregation grows, if we were to go to two services, this would create opportunities for families to serve one service and still go to worship at the other on Sunday mornings. If you have questions, suggestions, thoughts, or ideas about Redemption Kids ministry, please reach out to buggy@redemptionseattle.com!

 
Faithful Presence to Others | Women’s Ministry

 

 

Lisa Eichelberger is our new Director of Women’s Ministry and Care! Since stepping into this role, she has brought so much light and insight to our staff and a refreshing vision as to how she is going about leading in this capacity. She is currently recruiting a team of women around her to help in facilitating caring well for each woman in Redemption Church. One passage that the Holy Spirit has impressed on her as she reflects on her vision for women’s ministry come from Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church.

 

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

— Eph. 4:1-3

 

 

In reflecting on the vision of seeing our women thrive in faithful presence to God, self, and others, Lisa said, “I want to see our women growing both individually and collectively! God has called us not only to grow in our devotion to him but also commitment to one another. He wants to see us consistently building one another up, submitting to his word, and leaning into the Holy Spirit! All too often lies of fear and envy can keep us from being fully known and present to one another and so it is going to take real courage and honesty and gentleness to help us see these things, repent, and grow. It is also really important that we recognize that all women don’t share the same dreams, goals, calling, or aspirations in life. Some get married and some don’t. Some have children and some do not or cannot for various reasons. Some work outside of the home and some don’t. This vision of this ministry is not a cookie cutter that aims to produce hundreds of women who are all exactly alike. God creates and values our diversity in ethnicity, age, and life stage and so we are going to honor that reality and include everyone.”

 

 

Lisa is so very excited to create spaces in which our women can connect and grow in our faith! Ladies, if you or someone you know would like to get more information about women’s ministry here at Redemption, please email lisa@redemptionseattle.com.

Faithful Presence to Others | Leadership Development

Paul reminds the leaders of the church in Ephesus that they were to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:13). Certainly this comes through the pulpit, book studies, and small group gatherings. We’ve had several book studies with various leaders over the years but it is time that Leadership Development gets some much-needed attention. In replanting Redemption, we’re going to take investing in our leaders seriously. From training days, to retreats, to follow ups, we want to see our leaders thriving! Be thinking about who you could take under your wing and begin mentoring not only in the simple tasks around the church but think about how you might routinely invest in your teams. If you feel called to leadership in a particular ministry in our church, please reach out to mark@redemptionseattle.com.

 
Faithful Presence to Others | Pastoral Care

 

Henri Nouwen said,

 

“I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love. The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God’s Word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.”

For three years, our elders were able to keep up with checking in regularly with our people. On average, every member of Redemption Church had at least one touch point with a pastor every 4-6 weeks. This was when we had two pastors on staff and three lay elders. Now that we’ve hired Mark Dunford

to serve as our Pastor of Spiritual Formation and Operations, our pastoral care is going to be able to increase again and for that we are so very thankful! In commenting on the importance of pastoral care in at Redemption, Mark said, “As your pastors, we take seriously the responsibility of caring for the church. Christ purchased us with His blood. Could there be anything more important than His people? As pastors, we’re called to mimic what He did as a shepherd: to know, to love, to teach, to encourage and to disciple His church in the truth of the Gospel. Each of these elements are essential to all that we do! Foundational to all of it is knowing you and being known. There isn’t a template that cares for everyone in the church. Love is tailored, intentional and it’s essential to being part of Christ’s body.” As we replant Redemption, our elders are committed to regularly touching base with the members in order to best serve you, pray for you, care for you, and by God’s grace, lead you in a closer walk with Jesus. Our request of the members of Redemption would be that you wouldn’t feel as though you were an inconvenience nor the pressure to go it alone in your faith. Please reach out to us and let us know how we can best serve you.

Faithful Presence on Sunday Mornings |
Some Questions

 

 

As we replant and reopen, we all should be asking:

  • How Will Sunday Mornings Feel?

  • What Should I Expect?

  • What Should My Posture Be as I come to worship?

  • What Kind of Culture Do We Want to Create?

Faithful Presence to God |
Sunday Mornings: All Team Huddle

We’re going to introduce our Sunday morning All Team Huddle! There are several faithful volunteers that serve week by week on a few different teams in order to make Sunday morning worship run smoothly. Our Hospitality Team (formerly called the “Engagement Team”) arrives early to brew the coffee, set out the donuts, and put up signage around the lake and inside our church. Those involved in leading worship arrive not long after that. Then our Redemption Kids volunteers show up to set up their classrooms and prepare for all the children to show up for Sunday School. Our Prayer Team then arrives and goes upstairs to the Quiet Room (formerly known as the “Cry Room”) to pray through the liturgy and for everyone on their way into worship. All of these teams are invaluable. However, we’ve consistently found that our Redemption Kids volunteers can grow weary along the way. It truly is a labor of love to show up, set up your room, pour yourself out, and then head home sometimes feeling like you didn’t get to go to church. We’re going to change that! Instead of having siloed teams that show up at different times to serve, we’re going to have everyone arrive at the same time, have breakfast (burritos!) downstairs together and connect for a few minutes. From there we will have someone lead us in a couple of songs in worship, a brief devotional will led by one of the staff or elders, and then we will take communion and pray together. Then we’ll break and jump into the day. This simple change is one of those things that will help create a serving culture into which volunteers are known, seen, and invested. If you’re not personally involved in one of these ministries, please connect with megan@redemptionseattle.com

Faithful Presence to God |
Sunday Mornings: Worship

In August of 2019, Daniel Folgado joined the team as our Director of Worship and has done a phenomenal job leading us in person and online! His unique gifting enabled us to pivot online and worship throughout the pandemic. Most importantly, Daniel’s natural approach to leading worship falls completely in line with our vision of remaining faithfully present to God, self, and others. In speaking with Daniel about replanting Redemption and what he envisions for us as a vibrant community engaged in worshiping God he said, “I would love to see our community continuing to grow toward a more wholistic view of worship. One that sees worship as all the moments of our life and not just what we do with our one hour together on a Sunday. I think for many of us, myself included, we’ve often relied solely on our theology to carry us through our days, but the worship of Yahweh is a much more beautiful and expansive view of life. It’s a way in which we move throughout our days that keep our gaze fixed on Christ. And in the many moments that we fail, we’re reminded again and again to come back and to turn our eyes. As we continue to turn, we find that everything we need we already have. Our worship and witness keep us striving to be faithfully present to God because he’s always been faithfully present to us.”

 

PUNCTUALITY

Though it may not seem like a big deal to some, it matters. If we tell one another and our city that we begin at 10:00AM then that is when we will begin; not 10:05. Again, this is changing the culture of the church. It is a minor change that communicates we’re serious about our God and honoring people’s time.

 

EXPECTANCY

We need to become the expectant people of God! God has assured us that he inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). Jesus is present with us as we gather in his name (Matt. 18:20). Remember, God reached you, regenerated you, made you new in Christ! And he’s not done working on you, in you, and through you! Come expectant knowing that God keeps his promises and is going to speak to you week by week. This means that you make getting to bed on Saturday evening on time a priority. This means that you rise a few minutes early on Sunday morning to prepare your heart to worship. This means that you show up ready to meet with God, his word, and his people. Come expectant!

PARTICIPATE

We all have different ways in which we respond to God in worship. Some are more expressive and some are far more contemplative. I want to challenge our church especially in becoming more expressive. We’re instructed in the Scriptures to sing (Psalm 95:1), praise (Psalm 148:5), clap (Psalm 47:1), shout

(Psalm 100:1), bow (Psalm 138:2), be still (Psalm 46:10), and a host of other things. Remember God delivered his people out of bondage “so that they may worship me” (Ex. 7:16). We are commanded by God to respond in our freedom to worship!

 

WELCOMING NEWCOMERS

We’re a very hospitable people; at the same time, we all get into our routines and drift toward comfortability and so we naturally pay more attention to our friends and people we recognize over those who may be new in our midst. Start praying now and thinking about being even more hospitable. Hospitality is the heat that melts the Seattle Freeze.

 

SENDING

Our city is an extremely transient city. Our church has seen incredible amounts of turnover due to people’s work taking them other places or relocating to be near family in some other place. We are going to be the church that as we practice faithful presence, we’re going to also acknowledge that some are here only for a season and will then go somewhere else. Because we believe that God ordains the times and places in which people will live (Acts 17), we are going to be intentional about pouring into people who are here even for a season, invest in them, disciple them, and then intentionally and prayerfully send them out when they move. We will help them find a new church family to worship with so that they might take the gospel that they grew to love here and take it there. Paul would’ve found himself in a city like ours for this very reason.

Faithful Presence | Outside the Church

“This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

— Luke 15:2

As we navigate reopening, there are plenty of changes for us on the horizon that we can anticipate and surely there are some bridges that we’ll have to cross when we get there. Over the last five years it is very clear that the people who call Redemption “home” truly do love one another. We have a very generous church full of people who are willing to give financially, relationally, and spiritually to one another. In so many ways we have functioned as a “hospital” to help so many recover from church fallout, to wrestling with deconstruction. This kind of church culture is a wonderful thing! We want to always serve as a hospital to those who need a place to heal and recover from whatever may have come their way. Such is the way of Jesus. At the same time we desire to strengthen a deep, missional conviction over the fact that God has people “in this city” (Acts 18:10) and has sent us into the world. Jesus said,

“as the Father sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). This means that every follower of Jesus is to see him/herself as one who is sent. We are to always be ready and willing to turn outward and engage our unbelieving friends, family, and coworkers with the gospel. Yes to both! Hospital and hospitality!

Faithful Presence to Others | Evangelism

We live in what sociologists call the “None Zone.” For those who don’t know what this is–the None Zone describes our region’s religious affiliation – none.

Approximately 1/3 of Washington has no religious affiliation whatsoever. We can only assume that the number climbs higher in our city. Patricia O’Connell Killen writes,

“...the ‘secular but spiritual,’ constitutes most of the region’s (PNW) population. It includes two groups, both outs of conventional religious institutions. The first is those individuals who identify with a religious tradition but do not belong to one of its congregations. The second is the “Nones” proper, those who in response to the question “What is your religious tradition, if any?” answer “None.” Neither group is without religion. Even among the “Nones” only a small minority identify as atheist or agnostic. In fact, the vast majority of “Nones” claim beliefs and attitudes more like than unlike those persons inside churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques...It is clear that their identification with a religious heritage is sufficiently deep and meaningful that when asked their religious tradition, if any, they respond with the name of a recognized religious community. That identification may be a residue of family history or ethnic heritage, both of which the region quickly leaches out of many. It maybe a lingering element in a much larger process of disaffiliation in which the region leads the nation. In this process post-modern global trends in individual motivation and social organization coalesce with the regions religious fluidity and with internal tensions in religious communities to erode individuals’ connections to religious institutions....The ‘Nones’ make up a slightly smaller segment of the unchurched. Not only have they moved beyond religious institutions, they have moved beyond identifying themselves in any way with a religious tradition. They may be one step beyond those who identify with a tradition but do not belong to one of its institutions. They may be fully engaged in a larger process of religious disaffiliation and de-identification. They also may be exemplars of a developing mode of religiousness.”

As you can see, not only are we challenged with being in the None Zone, we are also home to a large “secular- but-spiritual” population. Douglas Todd writes,

 

“Cascadia’s large secular—but-spiritual cohort breaks down into at least three worldviews, each with its own approaches to nature. The first group engages with New Age spiritualities, emphasizing discovering one’s true self and sacred nature through... popular books....  Another group is apocalyptic. It includes hard-core anti-government white supremacists and survivalists. Like some hardcore environmentalists in Cascadia, survivalists have a sense of apocalypse: the fear that soon all of the region’s wilderness and beauty will be destroyed by unbridled capitalism and corrupt governments... The third major secular- but-spiritual group, according to Shibley is made up of those who intentionally follow nature religion.”

Some may look at this and grow discouraged over the task ahead. But Jesus isn’t discouraged! Not in the slightest! When Jesus looked at the city he said things like “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). Each week, the gospel is presented clearly from our pulpit, always with sensitivity towards our unbelieving friends that join us in worship. Yet, the pulpit is not the only place in the church where the gospel is to be proclaimed! Part of remaining faithfully present to those outside of the church has to do with our stewardship of the gospel message. As we replant, God is calling us to be both bold and gentle in sharing the good news. Brennan Manning said,

 

“The Ministry of evangelization is an extraordinary opportunity of showing gratitude to Jesus by passing on His gospel of grace to others. However, the ‘conversion by concussion’ method with one sledgehammer blow of the Bible after another betrays a basic disrespect for the dignity of the other and is utterly alien to the gospel imperative to bear witness. To evangelize a person is to say to him or her: you, too, are loved by God in the Lord Jesus. And not only to say it but to really think it and relate it to the man or woman so they can sense it. This is what it means to announce the Good News. But that becomes possible only by offering the person your friendship; a friendship that is real, unselfish, without condescension, full of confidence, and profound esteem.”

This is the kind of heart God longs to create and express through us here at Redemption! A people who “think it” and “relate it” to others in such a way that they can sense the truth of the love of God in the Lord Jesus. Who among our members is passionate about sharing the gospel of Jesus? Can you help me in getting some classes (evangelism, mission, apologetics, etc.) as well prayer groups going in this direction? Contact

megan@redemptionseattle.com

Faithful Presence to Others | Mercy Ministry

Commenting on the Good Samaritan passage, Pastor Timothy Keller writes,


“This compassion was full-bodied, leading him to meet a variety of needs. This compassion provided friendship and advocacy, emergency medical treatment,

transportation, a hefty financial subsidy, and even a follow up visit.”

As said above, we are very generous church from outreaches to Mary’s Place, Aurora Commons, Angel Tree, World Relief, school drives, and we’ve engaged in some really loving ways. These outreaches have been facilitated through Redemption Church roughly once a quarter. As part of our replant, we are going to continue these corporate calls to serve but we are also going to integrate our Small Groups by way of committing to serving five times a year. Buggy Castro has recently gathered a Service Team together that is focused on compiling ideas for our church to practice serving those outside the church and it looks like our vision is taking more shape in this area. One potential future hire that I want to make would be someone to lead our local missions and mercy ministry. Ideally, we need a person running point that can lead and coordinate our connections with a few of these outreaches to better

bless and serve our city. If that’s you or you know someone who would be interested in this role, please reach out! Connect with megan@redemptionseattle.com

Faithful Presence to Others |
Church Planting

As we pray big prayers and dream together about the future, I would ask you to join me in prayer that we might become a church planting church. What would it look like to raise up a church planter from within, develop him in elders meetings, staff meetings, and on the ground, daily ministry? Imagine sending out a group of 40 people to plant a church in another neighborhood here in Seattle to establish another outpost for the Kingdom of God. What if we were able to financially help this person and team get started as they take the good news to another local community and begin making disciples through being faithfully present to God, self, and others? Is that you? Do you know someone who senses a call to church planting?

How Long Will it Take?

Placing a time limit as we replant our church is shortsighted. Certainly we do not want to be in this phase forever, however, we’re going to be outcome-based instead of merely looking at a calendar date; such is faithful presence. In short, our replant will be considered successful when the vision of the church is on the lips and representative of the lives of our members. We long to see evangelism, passionate worship, sacrificial service to the church and city, all being done from as posture of rest as we remain faithfully present to God, self, and others.