At the core of everything we are, and everything we do, is the GOSPEL: the Good News that in the midst of our brokenness, and hopelessness, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save sinners like us. We want this promise to be at the center of the life of Redeemer.
In response to God’s generous love for His church, we are called to generously love one another and live out the call to COMMUNITY. In order to love each other well, we must be willing to both know and be known by one another. At Redeemer, we place a high value on gathering to share meals, popsicles, laughter, tears, and life together. Through the Good News of the Gospel, we are learning how to be honest with each other, how to grow in vulnerability, forgiving one another (and seeking forgiveness), and truly encouraging one another towards Jesus. We’re far from perfect, but we believe that true change always happens in the context of community, and we’re expecting to see God work through our messiness to heal and restore broken people.
The Gospel brings us into a relationship with Christ and also calls us out into our community to “love our NEIGHBOR as ourselves.” However, before we can start loving our neighbor, we must first know our neighbor. Therefore, we place a high emphasis on simply being present in our community, and specifically on our streets. We love living in a diverse community because it allows us to learn from each other, including people who may have grown up very differently from each other. Also, by seeking to truly know and love our neighbors, we can come alongside them to help meet the needs of our community in the most appropriate and dignifying manner.
Redeemer’s worship services are in the Vine City community, which is located in the shadows of the Georgia Dome, just north of the Atlanta University Center. Although situated in the heart of Vine City, our congregation is also made up of folks from Washington Park, Ashview Heights, Pittsburgh, and other neighboring communities. We believe that Redeemer is called to be a parish-model church and we long for our church to be made up of friends and neighbors that we see on a regular basis. We want the family of Redeemer to not simply come together on Sunday to worship, but to spend time with one another throughout the week, while encouraging one another in our daily call to live as people who are loved by Jesus.
Redeemer is a new church in our community, and being so is seeking to live out the beauty of the Gospel in a meaningful, profound, and loving manner. However, we are not seeking to be new or innovative in what we believe and teach, but rather are unapologetic in affirming and submitting to the theology found in the ancient creeds.
Redeemer is a church that was birthed out of a love for our community. In 2007, under the leadership and guidance of Trinity Anglican Mission, a small group of individuals began living in the Vine City community with the simple purpose of being a neighbor. Over time, their presence in the community allowed them to build friendships, begin to understand the needs of the community, and grow in appreciation of the beauty and history of the neighborhood.
Since 2007, more and more families, and individuals, have relocated into our community with a similar heart and mission: to know and love their neighbors. In this process, we have met and built friendships with some amazing neighbors who have called our community home for 10/20/30/40+ years! We have heard our neighbors talk with great pride about our community while also being honest about the plight our community has gone through, and the challenges that we now face. In the last 5-6 years, God has done some amazing work to build true friendships in our community that cross cultural, economic, and racial barriers.
In 2012, a small group of Christians from our community began to pray and dream about being a part of a church plant that was "in and for" our community. After being present for 5 years, it was clear that there was an opportunity to plant a church that would seek to love our neighborhood, welcome our neighbors, and share the Good News of the Gospel with our words and our actions. At that point, we had way more questions than answers (we still do!), but were hesitantly excited about moving forward. On December 16, 2012 we had our first worship gathering at a neighbor’s house and it was a beautiful night. With couches pushed against the walls, and folding chairs throughout the room, neighbors worshipped God alongside each other; we heard about the wonderful news of our Savior being born, and ate some delicious desserts afterwards! Neighbors (both new and old) wanted to come back together again soon, so we started having a worship service once a month at another neighbor’s house.
As time progressed, the monthly church services continued to gain momentum, we secured (and renovated) a building, and launched with a weekly service on June 8th, 2014! It's been incredible to begin worshipping in our church home and dream about what God will do in and through this church for years and years to come!
At Redeemer, we firmly believe that church works best when we are truly operating as the body of Christ, as Paul speaks of in 1st Corinthians 12:12-30. We seek to affirm Paul's words that "each one is a part" of the body and these parts are called "to have equal concern for each other" by encouraging the men and women who call Redeemer home to play key leadership roles in the church. It is an absolute joy to see God's people not only being served, but thriving in serving each other, while using their unique gifts that God has given them, and building deep friendships with those whom they are serving alongside.
As we all know, it takes a LOT of people to handle all of the responsibilities necessary to serve each other on Sunday morning and we are SO THANKFUL for everyone's willingness to jump in to help. Redeemer is blessed with worship leaders and a team of musicians that lead us in vibrant Christ-centered worship every Sunday. Redeemer Kids has a plethora of volunteers, as well as an incredible volunteer coordinator that keeps things running smoothly. Youth ministry consists of men and women who are so giving of their time and energy to serve and share life with the teenagers in our community. From the cafe, to building maintenance, to decorating, to the myriad of youth ministry activities, the list goes on and on. If you're new to Redeemer, know that you are invited to find out where your gifts can be used in seeing the Kingdom come!
Drew Henley is our Pastor at Redeemer Community Church and has been a resident in the neighborhood since February of 2008. Born in Atlanta and raised just north of the city, Drew is a passionate Braves/Falcons/Hawks fan (i.e. he’s used to heartbreak) and loves calling Atlanta home. After living in Vine City for a year, our parent church, Trinity Anglican Mission, invited him to be a part of their church staff (2009) and provide oversight and pastoral care to the growing ministry/partnership that Trinity had in the community. Drew’s role has evolved over time, and when the Lord moved us forward with the church plant (2012), it became clear that Drew was called to be our Pastor.
Drew has been married to his wonderful wife, Diane, for 10 years. They have 3 little girls (Anna, Evelyn, and Emma) and one boy (Luke) who all have the wonderful opportunity to grow up in this community. After completing his undergraduate degree at Furman University, Drew worked in the city for a few years, and then returned to school to study at Reformed Theological Seminary to obtain a Masters Degree in Divinity. Diane and Drew love being a part of this community, raising their family here, and can often be found taking walks, at the playground, or congregating with neighbors on their front porch!
Leon McKenzie comes to Redeemer from Riverdale, GA. He and his mother moved to the South Atlanta area from Brooklyn, NY one year after his father died. As a young man growing up in Brooklyn, Leon was blessed to have a solid family and home life. However, they were not the church going type. The morning of his father’s death, some friends offered to take him to church and his experience that Sunday morning would begin to change his life forever. There he met a community of people who loved and comforted him during the most difficult time of his life. Struggling with deep depression, he and his mom began attending church regularly and noticed that they both found a sense of peace there.
After moving to Georgia, they found a church home in Forest Park, GA. It was there that Leon finally understood the Gospel and the Lord radically saved him. Soon, he began to sense a call to preaching ministry. Believing that this call was from the Lord, Leon preached his first sermon on February 17th, 2006, one day before his 18th birthday. That summer he would intern at his home church and receive several more opportunities to preach and teach God’s Word.
Sensing that he had found his calling as a preacher, Leon went to Emmanuel College to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries. He is currently completing his Master’s in Biblical Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary. After interning with Redeemer for a little over a year, we were pleased to have him join us full time as our associate pastor.
This summer, Leon had the immense privilege of marrying his amazing wife Nichole Rohrbach McKenzie of Philadelphia, PA.