New Church Plant
“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
I want to update you on some exciting developments in our church family that have been prayed about for months but are now beginning to take shape. We ourselves are a church planted by another church – Spotswood Baptist Church. We believe that the multiplication of local churches is the foundation of how the great commission will be accomplished. It is in the local church context that new believers grow in their faith, use the spiritual gifts given to them, partake in the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and grow in relationship to each other. This has been the plan and purpose of God since the ascension of Jesus Christ. We believe that the multiplication of local churches happens best through churches planting new churches, instead of denominational structures planting churches or one famous preacher’s words being broadcast to many campuses.
Planting a local church begins with an able spiritual leader that feels called of God to lead a new church. Since early on in the life of Redeemer we have had a group of passionate Christians driving nearly an hour one-way from north Stafford (through weekend I-95 traffic) to be a part of what the Lord has been doing at Redeemer. I rejoice in the devotion and friendship of these dear brothers and sisters, but I have long felt that at some point in the future the Lord would call one of the spiritual men in this group to lead and form this group into a new church. That time has arrived.
I’m excited to announce that Justin Woodruff feels called of the Lord to begin forming up our first new church plant in northern Stafford, VA. Please be praying for Justin and Molly and their amazing family. Forming and planting a church is not like launching a business. A healthy church is formed around relationships, not marketing techniques. Relationships take time to grow and form in healthy ways. At this point, Justin has simply raised his hand and said “Yes!” to God’s call to lead. The current Redeemer elder board is working with Justin to establish a starting elder board for the new church. We are together in an exploration phase of determining where they will meet, what needs they will have, and who will fill key positions. When we were at this stage with Redeemer, it was a year before we launched our first service at Ni River Middle School. There is no set timeline, only steady and intentional progress forward.
Our goal is for Redeemer Stafford to become it’s own autonomous (self-governing) church. By creating new self-governing churches, there is a greater multiplication of Christian leaders and teachers. There is a greater focus on Jesus being the head of the church, than any one personality. There is also a greater accessibility to pastoral care. We talk often about not wanting Redeemer to become so large that we lose meaningful personal relationship. The answer to this is not to close the doors, but to expand the mission outward. My prayer is to create over years, a cooperating group of Redeemer churches that intentionally share doctrinal agreement, a commitment to expository Bible preaching, elder led / congregationally ruled church governance, and meaningful church membership.
Our vision is a group of churches that are organically related through shared discipleship and planting, but functioning under the SBC denominational umbrella. This will allow for much more personal encouragement and cooperation, but retain the benefits of national affiliation. We’ll see how this goes as the Lord leads! At this point, the elders ask you to pray for Justin and Molly, pray for the initial elder group, and consider whether you may want to join them in this effort. We strongly believe north Stafford needs a church like Redeemer! If you feel like you may want to be a part of this new church, please let Justin know.
One of the hardest things about sending out strong leaders on mission is…sending out strong leaders on mission. There’s a reason why so many of the New Testament letters are filled with emotion about missing beloved friends. Separation is hard. We would all prefer to stay together and just enjoy those we already know, but this is not what Jesus would have us to do now. This rejoicing and rest will be fully enjoyed in heaven. We must now have a great love for the lost, like Jesus did. We must go out and seek them in Jesus’ name. We must be fishers of men. But for every leader that goes out, another must stand up and grow into their vacant place. As some of our strong leaders go out, I will be calling on others of you to fill their places.
My prayer is that this will be the first of many new churches planted out of Redeemer. Together let us live on mission for our Redeemer Jesus Christ.
What a joy to serve Jesus with you,