There is a great profile of Tim Keller in this month’s issue of Christianity Today. For those of you who don’t recognize his name, Keller is a pastor, author and church-planter. In 1989 he and his wife began Redeemer Presbyterian Church in the heart of Manhattan. Keller’s prior experience had been as a pastor in the suburbs and a seminary professor. Balding, bespectacled, and studious, he is by his own admission neither dynamic or hip. In fact, he admits in the article that he didn’t even want to go.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? Yet today Redeemer has an average Sunday attendance of 5000 and shows no signs of slowing down their growth in the near future. Redeemer’s membership body is made up of life-long New Yorkers, Wall Street wizards, blue-collar workers, and everything in between. Every ethnicity in the city is represented. And they are in the process of planting new churches all over the city. They do this without multimedia, soft rock, or interpretive dance. Keller’s sermons follow the liturgy and the music is traditional, except for evening services. They didn’t even advertise. Consider:
“Redeemer’s worship is seemly and traditional. Instead of using video monitors, casually dressed worshipers follow a 20-page bulletin that includes hymns, prayers, and Bible texts. Organ and a brass quartet lead the music. For evening services, jazz musicians play contemporary Christian songs.
Standing 6’4”, with a bald head, glasses, and a coat and tie, Keller, 58, does not look hip. Nor is his sermon funny, charming, or daring. He preaches from the first chapter of Genesis, on the doctrine of Creation.
Keller speaks like a college professor, absorbed in his content, of which there is a lot. When longtime friend and founding member Dee Pifer invited colleagues from her Manhattan law firm, she would say, “I want you to hear a really good litigator.”‘
How does this happen? You really need to read the article to get the whole picture, but the following points stood out to me:
Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Faith and Religion, Christianity Today, church planting, evangelism, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Tim Keller, tradition