I often receive questions about the network of churches that Redemption is seeking to be part of, Acts 29. Some questions are in regard to what exactly this network is: is it a denomination, does it fund church plants? The answer to those is, that is not a denomination, nor is it a funding organization, but a partnership of like minded churches. Other questions are about why I would want Redemption to be part of this network.
First to the “what is Acts 29?” question. From their website, here is how they describe themselves:
Acts 29 Network exists to build a unifying and an uncommon alliance of smaller networks to advance the mission of Jesus through church planting churches. We are planting churches that are missionaries in their respective communities sent by Jesus with the gospel (John 20:21). It is our commitment to focus our efforts on planting multiplying churches and training leaders. We count it an honor to partner with you and to serve you.
Acts 29 is a network of Spirit-empowered pastors following Jesus united with this gospel community of planters on mission to all people groups for the glory of God.
As to the “why is Redemption part of Acts 29” question, the answer lies much in the previous answer. The only reason that Redemption will exist is for the worship of God through the making of disciples, equipping the saints for gospel advancement, and planting churches. This will be the heartbeat of Redemption. We will not have church attenders; we will not have people who just “go to church”. Every person at Redemption will be a missionary on mission–in their neighborhoods and workplaces for the advancement and spreading of the name of Jesus. As more disciples are made, we will send out more men to plant the gospel by means of church plants throughout New Mexico and the world. While this is the heartbeat of Redemption, this is also the passion of the pastors within the Acts 29 network. To share this passion and connection with churches all over the country and world gives Redemption a fellowship that allows us to learn from others, but it also means we have a bit of a special relationship to churches we may visit while on vacation, or away on business. When someone who is a part of Redemption walks into an Acts 29 church in another city, they will already understand the passion of and the heartbeat behind its existence.
Acts 29 is also fiercely excited about training and supporting churches within the network to help identify and train men who aspire to lead and plant churches. This will give Redemption a foundation in how we train and equip men who want to plant a church someday. Aligning and partnering with a group of men who have been there, who are able to guide and point out land mines to avoid, will give Redemption a solidly built foundation on which to train and send out men.
As a pastor, the benefits of Acts 29 also lie in the fellowship and brotherhood among other church planters. Pastoring and leading are lonely roles at times, so it is extremely valuable and needed for me to have other brothers who I can talk to and seek wisdom, correction and guidance from. Knowing that there are men who have gone before me who are like-minded, have the same passions I do, and want to see Redemption become a church with a gospel impact in New Mexico is comforting, encouraging and energizing. All of this is not only for me but for my wife as well, who is connected to other wives within the network, as she seeks to minister, love and walk alongside the women of Redemption.
While we are excited about all the above, one of the biggest strengths of Acts 29 is that they care about the pastor’s life, not the pastor’s church growth ability or strategy. The men of Acts 29 are adamant about seeing planters who love Jesus, who love and pursue their wives passionately, and who are daddies to their kids before they are pastors of a church. The president of Acts 29, Scott Thomas, is a man who seeks to be about shepherding the shepherds. In other words, he cares for us as men before he cares for us as planters. This is something that is uncommon to find in the church planter’s world, so to have a network that is driven by this care and encouragement is huge and a great blessing to me and my family.
For more information about Acts 29 here is a video from Scott Thomas below and to visit the Acts 29 website click here: