“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” –Acts 2:46-47
This past Easter Sunday was such a joyful and amazing morning! The 9:30 service was something I have never experienced in my life – a church service with every single seat full and many people standing in the back for the entire service. A service of worship full of the Holy Spirit and joy! We live in a day characterized by isolation, depression, much strife, evil, and increasing secularization. It’s an answer to prayer, and a show of God’s favor toward us, that people continue to stream into Redeemer seeking a church that revolves around New Testament principles.
I feel it’s important to review for those who are new to the church, and for those who have been with us from the beginning, what are the foundations of Redeemer Bible Church.
First, Redeemer is committed to expository preaching and teaching of the Bible. This means preaching that goes systematically through the Bible chapter by chapter, the way it was inspired and written, to help give the clearest possible understanding of what the Bible is communicating. This is not easy. The Bible is full of difficult, confrontational, and mysterious passages; however, we should expect exactly that from a holy, righteous, and sovereign God.
The elders of Redeemer are committed to not thematically selecting scriptures that suit beliefs we already hold, but allowing the church to be shaped by what we find in scripture as we face it straight on. Most churches today selectively and intentionally skip theologically and morally difficult passages. These passages are purposely skipped and excluded for so long that it warps the spiritual growth of Christians in that church. However, the hard things of the Bible are in fact what distinguishes us from the world. The hard things of the Bible press us the most toward holiness, self-sacrifice, humility, and the missionary calling. We believe that God is blessing the preaching of His word.
Second, Redeemer is committed to congregational singing. Congregational singing, as a part of the local church, means that the whole church is singing together. It means that all the church – every man, woman, youth, and child – are lifting their voices to sing praise to the risen Jesus.
Our musical worship leaders do certain things, intentionally, to foster congregational singing. The volume of music is turned down low enough, so that every person can hear themselves and others sing. High volume discourages individual singing.
We turn the lights up and raise the window curtains. It the past, Christian sanctuaries were intentionally full of light because our God is a God of light! Today, many churches intentionally darken their places of worship to make them more like performance concert halls. They do that because that is exactly what is happening – the musical worship of such churches is mainly a few talented people performing for the church. The spotlight is literally on them. At Redeemer the musical worship leaders are using their musical gifts to lead us all to worship. God is our audience and we want every Christian in the church to join in honoring God with their voice.
We sing biblically true and substantially meaningful music arranged to be sung by the common person. This is how all church music used to be. Today, there is a resurgence of such music, and we believe God blesses His people when they worship in Spirit and truth.
Third, Redeemer is committed to meaningful membership. Redeemer believes that the meeting of the local church is just that – the meeting of the local church. The Sunday morning gathered worship service is primarily a meeting of people that believe in Jesus as Savior and want to worship Jesus, grow in discipleship and obedience to God’s will.
Unbelievers are invited into this joyful and Christ-honoring setting. They are influenced by the love, hope, and joy of Christian people and are drawn to Christ Jesus, but the service is not for them and is not oriented toward them. The worship is oriented toward Almighty God and an unbeliever cannot worship God.
The teaching of the Bible is directed to disciple and grow the believer, but always presents the gospel so that the unbeliever might know how to put their faith in Jesus.
Meaningful membership brings Christians together in a local setting and in a relationship where they are committed to each other by a church covenant (available on the website under membership). Redeemer is committed to the discipleship of Christians (making disciples) in the local church, and continually seeking the lost that they might be added to the church for the glory of Jesus.
These three foundations are undergirded and surrounded by prayer and Christian love. We are continually praying for the Holy Spirit to be at work in Redeemer and through us out into our community. We pray for the Holy Spirit to be at work in such a way that only God can be glorified because the work cannot be attributed to people’s natural talent.
At Redeemer, we want this church to demonstrate to the world that Jesus Christ lives and is working to glorify Himself in the local church today in our area. We pray for Christian love to overflow from every conversation, every service, every act of hospitality, every widow and orphan cared for, and even in every stand for truth taken in opposition to sin. We pray that the world will know that we are disciples of Jesus Christ by how we love one another (John 13:35-36).
From the beginning we have been on a ten-year plan. The elders at Redeemer believe that the hurried world often overestimates what can be accomplished in one year, but underestimates what can be accomplished in ten years. We’re two and a half years into seeking the Lord in these ways, and look where we are! May the Lord direct our steps and guide our path for His glory!
Soli Deo Gloria,