Matt Boswell on Redemption Church, One Year Later
Date: September 24th, 2012
One year ago, we interviewed Pastor Matt Boswell of Redemption Church who was part of a small team that created a church in one week’s time. We return to the scene of our initial interview — Match Coffee and Wine Bar in Duvall, WA – to see what has changed over the course of the year. This is a fascinating interview that provides insights into how churches grow and change. The podcast starts with Pastor Matt getting on Tony for not having attended church in a couple months. Hear your faithful host’s pathetic explanation as he tries to weasel out of responsibility for his spiritual growth. Nonetheless, this exchange opens the door to talk about church attendance and how it may ebb and flow over the course of a year. After a gangbuster opening week back in early October 2011, with standing room only, attendance at Redemption Church (RC) has settled into a typical rhythm. Matt talks about how the Pacific Northwest has a church attendance pattern that is different than other places in the United States with the typical member coming to Sunday services twice a month. We hypothesize about reasons why this might be. The other large issue that comes up early in the podcast deals with the logistics of a church that doesn’t have a “traditional church building.” Whereas RC does have administrative offices located above the local hardware store, the congregation meets in the town’s public high school, a space that is only available to them for a couple hours every weekend. The importance of “space” and “mission” is discussed at length. Whereas many people do like to have, and are comforted by, a stable location that they know they can go to (which is the role of the administrative offices), one of the initial goals of RC was to become a “church without walls,” wherein the pastoral staff has to go out into different parts of the town to work. Matt talks about how he often works on his Sunday sermons in a local bar, often attracting the attention of the patrons who find it odd that a member of the clergy would be hanging out with beer drinkers. This then moves to a discussion of how RC has structured its outreach and the different means with which they seek to attract people to the Word of God. Tony also brings up the issue of weddings and funerals and how these things are managed. After all, not many people like to get married in a high school auditorium, or make their last stop on earth be the same place where the senior class performed “Grease” the night before. Matt gives his take on where the wedding scene is at and how RC manages weddings and (potentially) funeral. (RC has not had the occasion of a funeral in its first year of existence.) He also shares the most unusual place he married a couple. The issue of “space” also brings up one of Tony’s most vexing questions: Has anyone in the “packed tight” high school auditorium ever spilled the sacramental grape juice when it is passed around? And what about those popcorn buckets? After answering this deeply philosophical question, the conversation then skips to a “church tour” that the RC pastoral staff took to Spokane, WA to learn about how other churches operate. This is a fascinating comparative study of different denominations at different points in their life span. Matt discusses how he learned about the importance of a church having a “vision.” This discussion would be of great interest to any clergy member or those interested in what makes for a successful congregation. We finish up with Matt’s reflections on what he learned over the past year, including both the triumphs and the mistakes, and a “lightning round” of questions that I asked to other guests including preaching politics, pacifism, and fighting in the US War of Independence. Recorded with ambient sounds of Match Coffee and Wine Bar: September 19, 2012.
Redemption Church website.
Matt Boswell on Starting a Church (Really Fast!).
Matt Boswell on Building Redemption Church, Part II.
Scott Thompson on Youth Ministry.
Ryan Habig on Music Ministry (including the soon-to-be hit single “With Us” for free!).
Joe Fuiten on Clergy & Politics.
Should Christians Have Fought in the US War of Independence?
Ron Mock on Pacifism, War, and Terrorism.
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