I thought it would be beneficial for us to pause and reflect on the past year as a church. Here are seven encouraging things that happened at Redeeming Cross in 2018.
Moved to Anthony
In years past we have been as the patriarchs, dwelling in tents and not knowing whither we went. We have, however, been guided by a strong Hand every step of the way. We are so thankful for our time meeting at the Bridge Center, and, when we felt it may be time to move on, we spent months in prayer and deliberations as elders and with all the members. We are thankful to have reached a decision together and on April 1 we began gathering at Anthony Middle School in the Kenny neighborhood of South Minneapolis. It has been a challenging but beneficial move for us. We hope to continue growing at this new location, and it has certainly made our gatherings more efficient. We have done some door-to-door evangelism in the neighborhood and need to do more. We must continue to pray that God will use us in this part of town and beyond.
After years of prayer, the Lord has finally sent us a third elder! Pastor Gottfried and myself were absolutely thrilled when Marty Pagano and his dear wife Barb began visiting Redeeming Cross a couple years ago. I myself have been praying for an elder brother to come along ever since my mentor Bob Bert passed in 2014. We installed Marty in April and he has been a tremendous addition to the elder board. His experience and giftings compliment Gottfried and myself and add great wisdom to the team. Continue to pray for Pastor Marty and for all the elders. We are ever in need of grace.
This last year has been a time of trial for several of our members. From losing a precious child to suffering marital unfaithfulness and divorce to being out of work, I am so very proud of the ways in which the saints have endured in faith and joy in Christ. I don’t particularly preach on suffering, but I do preach Jesus Christ and him crucified as the treasure and gladness of his people. The Holy Spirit is blessing this kind of preaching to make our people strong.
Planting a church
Our dear friend and former Redeeming Cross member David Torres approached the elders this summer with a church planting idea for Mesa, Arizona, where he lives with his lovely family. It is a largely unreached part of town with a giant Mormon population. We are honored to affirm David in his godliness, gifts, and calling, and are so very thrilled to be the official sending church of Christ Church North Mesa. The process has not been entirely free of hand chopping and eye gouging, as we have sent one of our own beloved members, Nick Larson, to be part of the planting team. The new church is set to launch in May of this year. Please pray for dedicated members and more elders to help David. You can learn more about the church here.
Preaching through Numbers
Pastor Marty and I broke up the monotony of my infamous stand alone sermons to preach through Numbers this year. We emphasized seeing the great object of our faith, Jesus Christ, in the ancient book and were both challenged and strengthened by our times of study. The sermons were, we trust, encouraging and eye-opening to the people. It is always a special treat to trace out that blessed Emmaus Road through the Old Testament. The sermons may be found here.
Wrath and Grace Publishing
My writing ministry with Wrath and Grace Publishing continues to grow. This year I was approached by our friends at Desiring God to write an article based on my published biography, Lemuel Haynes: The Black Puritan. You can read the article here. This year we also published our first work by authors other than myself. My dear friends Nicholas Alford and Nick Kennicott wrote a tremendous book for young ministers entitled In Praise of Old Guys. Our friend Conrad Mbewe, the African Spurgeon himself, was kind enough to write a foreword. “This book,” he wrote, “may be small, but its potential for good is incalculable.” We are also adding several more authors to the team for 2019. Please pray for this ministry.
As my faithful readers will recall, we were praying for 30 new members this year. The Lord did not see fit to provide us with the number, but has instead given us about 12 new additions. We have learned to calculate our size by spiritual weight rather than head count. Besides, it seems a special sized group, for with that very number our Lord turned the world upside down. They have just completed new member classes going through the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession and will begin interviews soon. We hope to install this exciting new group of folks sometime in February.
Please pray for the ministry of Redeeming Cross Community Church as we seek to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified as faithfully and effectively as he will grant us, for the glory of God in all things.