This month, we are highlighting our Avondale neighbor and partner, Redeemer Community Church. Redeemer began in 2008 in the home of Lauren and Joel (Lead Pastor) Brooks and since then has transformed into a 1300-membered church making big waves in the city to advance the Kingdom of God.
Redeemer currently congregates in a historic Avondale church building initially erected by South Avondale Baptist Church in 1914. The church building saw a congregation struggle through the Great Depression and the period of racial desegregation, in which the stance of the residing church remained that black people would not be seated. However, years later, the building’s residency shifted to New Hope Baptist in 2000, a predominantly African American church. Just 14 years later, Redeemer Community Church moved from Woodlawn into the historic sanctuary.
Having moved into a broken and hurting community, Redeemer focuses on proclaiming the gospel to see the city heal; “We believe that every page of scripture proclaims Jesus and His gospel. This gospel of grace transforms lives and culture.” Redeemer aims not just to create a great church, “but great communities within a great city.” Throughout scripture we see that God has a tremendous heart for the city – not because he loves tall buildings, but because this is where people are concentrated. The Bible begins in a garden but ends in a glorious city. In heaven, we will live in a city for all of eternity. Worshiping God together amid community is the goal. So like Jeremiah teaches, we want to identify ourselves with the city and to seek its welfare.”
Redeemer puts high priority into knowing and serving their community through avenues such as their large community garden, their expanding Urban Ministry Residency program, service with local ministries such as Interfaith Hospitality House, ongoing relationship with Avondale Elementary, and a partnership with the Christian Service Mission. Their garden provides vegetables for neighbors as well as engages the community through monthly events and weekly workdays. In the Urban Residency Program, members are placed into the community for a few years to truly know and understand the neighborhood’s needs in a home owned by the church. Christian Service Mission is honored to partner with Redeemer in all of these efforts and with yearly food drives, Thanksgiving outreach, and most importantly, pastor collaboration to discuss challenging topics like racial reconciliation.
During Covid-19, Redeemer, like many, was forced to rethink church. Even before Covid, Redeemer recognized, “Martin Luther did not like to use the word ‘church’ to describe a church, because just like today this word had come to mean a building or an institution. He preferred to use the words’ community’ or ‘assembly.’ This puts the emphasis back on the church being a people instead of a building.” This proved very true when, because of the pandemic, the church began to gather at the old Trinity Medical Center parking deck, in which they are still meeting today. One church member said, “Services may look different and feel a bit colder recently, but hearing fellow believers sing praises to our Lord and gathering to hear His word is what matters. It’s been a blessing to meet at all.”
The Christian Service Mission is excited to continue a partnership with Redeemer Community Church and work for our city’s good together!