Redeemer's Next 5 Years
In August of 2015, we began gathering people to help us plant Redeemer Church in Stillwater, OK. We had a team of 12 people, mostly from outside of Stillwater, that served as our initial leadership team. Over the first year, we grew to a little over 40 members, and close to 50 attending our Sunday night gatherings. Over our first summer of 2016, we realized we needed to reset somethings, and we essentially started over.
Since the reset we have been a growing and healthy church. We quickly built up to 40 members by the end of 2016, and in October 2016 we became an official Acts 29 church plant. We began Sunday services in January of 2017, but did not move those to Sunday morning until we got to 50 members. In August of 2017, we officially launched Redeemer Stillwater! What that means, is that we had reached our goal of having Gospel Communities (we started with 3 of them), 50+ members, and a Sunday morning service. From this point, we have consistently grown each semester by about 5-10 adults on Sunday mornings. We have had a couple semesters where we've actually grown a bit more.
Today, we have 5 Gospel Communities, 75 members (though we have had 120 in all since 2015 -- college town reality!), and around 110 in attendance on Sunday mornings. Over the past couple of years, we have witnessed two get saved and baptized 9 people. One of the consistent things we hear from people is how much they have learned about the gospel of Jesus, how to apply it to their lives everyday, how their lives have been impacted by genuine, Christ-centered community, and how more and more they are living their lives on mission. The Lord is using Redeemer Church to change lives here in Stillwater, OK!
As we look to the next five years, we are really excited about where the Lord is leading us. While we had hoped to be at 100% internally supported by now and have a plurality of elders, we are not there. We knew planting in a college town that it may take longer than most to become financially self-supported. In light of this, we want to share our vision and hope for the next 5 years at Redeemer. Please read over these 5 hopes for 2025, and consider partnering with us below.
Plurality of Elders
We currently have one potential elder in the pipeline, and our hope is that by this coming spring he is appointed as an elder. That would give us two elders. However, until we have three elders appointed, we do not consider ourselves to have a plurality of elders. Further down the pipeline, we have about 3-4 men. We want to focus more efforts on developing them, observing them, and hopefully appointing them as elders in the next five years. Not all will be, but we hope for at least one to two others by 2025.
People have asked, "How do you know when a church is self-supported?" Honestly, there is not a clear answer to that question. If I went and got a full time job right now, we would be self-supported, in a sense. It would change a lot of what we can and cannot do, but we would be able to cover all of our baseline expenses, support our different ministries, and generously support the mission of God beyond Redeemer. All of our staff are currently support raised. So they could remain, but I would need to step down. I'm not opposed either. I believe in what we're doing here, and if I need to get a job and dial a ton of stuff way back then I will. However, we believe that by 2025 we can be financially stable, meaning we will no longer be dependent on the help of others outside of Redeemer to help us fulfill the mission and vision of Redeemer.
Established in the City
By 2025, we want our city to better know who we are, and that we are not going anywhere. Some say we need a building to do this, but I disagree. If we get a building, great. If not, I think we can still establish ourselves as a permanent church that is here to bless this city. We hope to do this by better engaging with the non-profit sector of our city where we can, and working to create new non-profits where needed. Each of our Gospel Communities is tasked with partnering with organizations in our city to serve and bless them. We would love to get other churches involved. Over the next 5 years, we want to engage our city in such a way, that if we had to shut everything down they would grieve and miss us.
Currently, we have almost no presence on campus. We set up for an event every Fall with about 300 other business and organizations to pass out material, and we go to a college only retreat each September to pass out materials. That's it. That's all we've done so far, and yet over half our congregation is students. Word spreads fast on campus. We want to launch a more intentional work on campus, but different than most other campus ministries and church college ministries. We are not seeking a weekly gathering, and college small groups, and college only this and that. Those are not bad, don't hear that. We just want to go at this differently. We want to train and develop college Christians to own their own campus. We want to train them as we would missionaries going overseas. We want to develop them in this, so that when they graduate and move to wherever they get job, they can jump into a church and be on mission. We want to teach them the value of being a member of a local church. A rough and very liberal estimate is that about 5000 students at OSU are currently involved in some sort of campus ministry or church. Again, very liberal estimate there. That leaves about 20,000 that don't, and probably won't attend those things. So how do we reach them? Thats's what we want this ministry to focus on.
There are roughly 3000 youth aged kids in Stillwater today. Of those 3000, about 500-700 (liberal estimate) go to a youth group, church, young life or k-life, or something similar. In 2010, over 52% marked "None" on the census as their religious affiliation in Stillwater. Those were people 18 and older in Stillwater. Today, those would be 28 and older, and many would have kids entering or already in the public school system. It is entirely possible that in the next 5 years, there will be a large percentage of students graduating Stillwater High School who have never heard the gospel or barely heard it. I think we assume because of the Bible Belt that people hear the gospel all the time. The reality is that they don't. And more and more parents don't go to church or believe the gospel, and thus more and more students are not hearing it. We are beginning this spring to form a team of people and begin some ground work toward reaching youth in Stillwater, and hopefully their parents, too. It's going to require a new strategy, and is probably going to be very messy. But we're committed to being a blessing in this city.
We are asking the Lord for partners in ministry for the next five years to see these hopes become a reality. We're asking partners to give $2025 by 2025. This can be a one time gift of $2025, an annual gift of $405 (Stillwater's area code wink, wink!) for the next five years, or a monthly gift of $33.75 for the next five years. The $2025 is a total gift amount, not yearly. If you would like to partner with us, you can click the "Give to Redeemer" tab below and give right away, or you can click the "Submit a Pledge" tab and let us know how much and when you desire to begin your partnership with us. Thank you for your prayers and consideration, and we hope you will be part of Redeemer's next 5 years!