[Note: The Greenhouse Series promotes church planting and church renewal in the United States. Each installment spotlights a specific church that has recently been planted or is in the process of revitalization, as a means of encouraging our readership in the victories of the gospel and allowing them the opportunity to support these churches.]
Over the past few years, we Southern Baptists have come face to face with the brutal facts: we are a mostly Southern, mostly middle-class, mostly white network of mostly-declining churches. One challenge that arises from this reality is that of reaching the great urban centers of the Northeast and the West Coast. Urban centers such as New York, Boston, and Los Angeles are major centers of social and cultural influence, and yet we have spent (comparatively) precious little of our resources to unleash the gospel and plant churches in those cities.
Upon the backdrop of that reality, I am particularly happy to spotlight the work of Southeastern alums Tanner Turley, Josh Miller, Abbey Cook, and Jon Chasteen, who are planting Redemption Hill Church in Medford, Massachusetts, a few miles north of downtown Boston. Below is a concise overview of their church plant, followed by information about how one can support them in their ministry in Boston.
Tanner, Josh, Jon, and Abbey moved to Boston, enabled by the ministry and equipping of Open Door Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. Tanner had begun to pray about church planting five years ago, sensing God’s guidance to leave the Bible belt and relocate to a major city. Tanner, Josh, and their families took a trip to Boston and soon confirmed that Boston was that city. Abby Cook, also a member at Open Door, joined the team a year later, and the group was finalized when Jon Chasteen came on board in 2009. This core of Redemption Hill moved to Boston in June 2010.
Tanner, Josh, Abby, and Jon spent their first month in Boston getting acclimated to the city, meeting neighbors, and extending hospitality. Tanner notes that these efforts “all continue to this day!” So the summer and fall months of 2010 were spent building relationships, finding ways to serve the city, and engaging in one-on-one discipleship – all with gospel intentionality. The leadership team formed the first community group and multiplied about three months later. Monthly corporate meetings started in November and grew toward weekly worship gatherings. Sunday services began in earnest on April 10, 2011 with 136 people in attendance – an incredible gospel opportunity in New England. The church now averages around 60 attendees, a great number, with many nonbelievers, internationals, and college students in attendance.
Redemption Hill’s ministry in Boston also extends to the community through local partnerships God has provided with “persons of peace.” They partner with the Boys’ & Girls’ Club and have established a great working relationship with the Athletic Director at the local high school. In fact, this relationship is already bearing fruit: the AD has arranged all the details for Redemption Hill to host a free soccer clinic (July 11-15) for elementary-school kids. Tanner states that Redemption Hill “has been blown away by the doors God has opened for us to serve in our community.” Furthermore, they continue to multiply their Community Groups, raise up new leaders, and mobilize the congregation to serve. For example, the church will put on a “Serve Medford” week (July 25-29).
The ministry of Redemption Hill is another example that the church, as Paul states, is the vehicle to make known God’s multiform wisdom to the powers and authorities (Eph. 3:10). We can come alongside this great work by 1) praying for the spiritual growth of the members and families of Redemption Hill’s leadership team, 2) praying for continued and extended kingdom work in Boston via Redemption Hill’s ministry, and 3) supporting them financially. If you would like to offer such support, visit their website (http://www.redemptionhillchurch.com/connect/give/) or contact the Pastor of Missions and Discipleship, Jon Chasteen (firstname.lastname@example.org).