Delray Beach, Florida has been called the “recovery capital of America”, according to The New York Times. John O’Brien is Community Life Pastor at The Avenue Church in Delray Beach. What follows is John’s story of how Redemption Groups have equipped his church for effective ministry in the recovery capital.
Redemption Groups and Church Planting
An immense amount of work, prayer and collaboration goes into launching a church. By the grace of God we just celebrated five years of fruitful ministry in the recovery capital of the country, Delray Beach Florida. From the beginning we have sought to have a unified gospel theology, philosophy, and practice. Our aim has always been to be a church that glorifies God and blesses people by maturing and multiplying disciples in the context of community. Redemption Groups has played the decisive role in helping us to translate this gospel vision and mission into tangible gospel practice.
More Practically Helpful Than My Seminary Education
My experience with Redemption Groups has been more practically helpful and ministry defining for our community life than my seminary education. I’ve watched it completely transform the way people do life and relate to others. This is crucial because being the Church in the recovery capital of the country presents unique challenges. People in recovery are not fundamentally different from those who are not. However, their issues are intensified and their needs more urgent than others. Strong leadership is needed to model and offer gospel-centered wisdom in the context of life-on-life, life-in-community, and life-on-mission discipleship environments. How does a church find and develop such Spirit-lead, relationally savvy lay leaders who can navigate the complex tensions between reactive and proactive missional community?
Real Life Relational Skills
Enter Redemption Groups. Redemption Groups are the most effective vehicle I’ve found for identifying and developing the kind of small group leaders I’m comfortable entrusting our people with. Redemption Group training provides the kind of real life relational skills and gospel insights crucial to modeling and offering personal and interpersonal health and maturity. Participants walk away with tools to engage life successfully with renewed perspective and direction. Most importantly, the people who have experienced Redemption groups have been empowered to love and care for others wisely and compassionately like Jesus. They know how to suffer honestly before God. They know what to say and what not to say to people who are hurting. They are better friends and better disciple makers. They know how to listen for the heart and how to connect people and their struggles to God’s overarching story. They are more aware and accepting of the depths of their need. They know where to find grace.
Gospel Community Catalyst
Together we have been unable to find any gospel resource as effective as Redemption Groups. Redemption Groups is the best leadership factory and gospel community catalyst we know of at this point and we look forward to many years ahead of partnering with and implementing Redemption Groups at The Avenue Church.