This is a big year for our Palos congregation.
More than four years ago now we became convinced that extending the life-changing love of Jesus meant stretching beyond the comfort of being one congregation. Planting a new site in Palos would enable us to reach a group of people we otherwise could not possibly reach with the gospel.
By God’s grace, that has truly happened. Redemption Palos is noticeably (and beautifully) different from Trinity Hinsdale. There is a remarkable ethnic, economic, and spiritual diversity. Attendees of Redemption include policemen, truck drivers, college professors, teachers, workers in the service industry—and even an MMA fighter. People who have been Christians for decades worship side by side with those who have been believers for mere days.
Redemption has seen remarkable spiritual fruit. New converts to Christ have been baptized. The love of Christ has tangibly changed lives. People disconnected from the body of Christ for years have once again become faithful members. Thanks be to God!
At the same time, amidst these blessings we have also learned quite a bit about what this project really entails. Our leadership came to realize that we had underestimated the significant differences between the cultures of Hinsdale and Palos. Perhaps more significantly, we have come to understand more fully how starting a new site requires many of the same steps and strategies involved in planting a church.
And so we have made some course corrections along the way, a process that Michael has led us through with remarkable competence. He has spent an incalculable amount of energy training local leadership, developing a distinct identity (including a new name), and mobilizing the congregation to get into “plant mode”—all to position this congregation for the phase that really begins this Sunday, when Redemption is “re-launched.”
If you were with us last Sunday, I hope you noticed the sense of momentum that this congregation is gathering. Over the past couple of months, new families have started attending. Financial giving has increased. Perhaps most importantly, there is a noticeable sense of shared ownership across the congregation of the work that needs to be done to be. Together, they have hung 3000 invitations on doorknobs and have placed dozens of lawn signs throughout the area. Friends and neighbors are being invited to an upcoming Christianity Explored class. These people are fully in mission mode.
This is truly a pivotal year for Redemption. As with any mission, it is not without risk. We do not know how many people will respond to the invitations, who will show up this Sunday at church, who might be interested in a class on Christianity. We cannot predict what God will do in the coming weeks.
But we do know that he answers prayer. Our job at Trinity is to have their back in this important time. Redemption is our mission church, and we are its senders. We have the calling and the privilege of partnering with them in this work financially and through prayer, as we wait on God to bring more fruit.
Please pray with me for the work God is doing at Redemption!