It was a good run. The dynamic ministry that took place out of a downtown storefront was a dream come true. Beginning with the Good Friday/5-year anniversary celebration on March 30th and lasting until the last week of June, for three months we called 80 Water Street our home.
This special time was made possible by all those who generously donated 3-months’ worth of rent money and then some, almost $5,000 in all. Despite this fundraising success, we were unable to secure the steady finances needed in order to sign a multi-year lease at the end of June. Therefore, The Redemption Movement board opted to pass on the property, and now we’re back to where everything started--at “The Ol’ Storefront,” our original home on River Street.
Instead of mourning the loss of a great space, we’re choosing to celebrate what a cool opportunity we had to expand the ministry in so many ways for three memorable months. What’s this move back to our past mean for our church’s future? I think highly enough of our many supporters that I’d like to provide you with a comprehensive update.
What’s this mean for the Kindness Station and #OneontaRides?
Our popular outreach ministry continues operations this fall, and we’ll be back outside of the 80 Water Street building. Although, one side effect from doing the Kindness Station inside is that we became spoiled by no longer having to transport gear. This is one reason why we’re downsizing and simplifying the Kindness Station. Read more >> 8 Kindness Station Changes for Fall 2018
Rest assured, plenty of ministry will still take place at the Kindness Station.
Where will The Redemption Movement meet for church gatherings?
We’re back at 148 River Street where we will gather every Thursday evening at 6pm.
Will you try to move again?
Not any time soon. In fact, one thing that this whole experience has taught me is the value of doing ministry “within our means.” This means not tackling a major, long-term project until enough regular support is first in place from church members. Seeking support from those outside our church fellowship is a great option for perhaps a one-time need or a short-term project (like purchasing a vehicle), but it’s not a healthy way to fund something that requires regular billing--like paying rent.
For all of the drawbacks of being on River Street, it’s still a free option for The Redemption Movement, which then frees up church funds to invest elsewhere--like the outreach ministry. At this point, I feel like the regular supporters and members of The Redemption Movement would have to grow significantly before we could again entertain the thought of moving downtown.
Side Note: One thing I’m looking forward to this year is actually fixing up our River Street property. In the past, I’ve been so driven by the mission that, upon realizing early on that no amount of building improvements will cause a new person to actually visit our out-of-the-way storefront church, I’ve put zero effort into building projects--and the place shows it. Today, my thinking is, “Well, if this is going to be our headquarters for a while, then it might as well look nice.”
What about Night Church and other downtown dreams?
You may recall the vision casted last March of what it would look like to do ministry in the heart of downtown Oneonta. I encouraged the community to “dream with me,” and many of you did. Read More >> The Case for Moving The Redemption Movement Downtown
It was a vision that included such outside-the-box ideas like; Night Church, having the space utilized as a community center for other groups to use, and even see The Redemption Movement take on the role of a downtown mission that would better serve the practical needs of Oneonta.
During our stay on Water Street, we even encouraged those we served to dream with us by writing their ideas on a wall that said, “How Can We Love People Here?” The results were inspiring.
According to the public, downtown Oneonta needs a place for:
- Music lessons.
- Ministry collaboration.
- Babysitting for parent’s night out.
- Community potluck dinners.
- Showing love. Spreading love.
- Sharing your story and have people listen.
- Watching old T.V. shows.
- Warming up and experiencing kindness.
- And much more.
All of these ideas are good, and, if given the chance to flourish, would have been the catalyst to many more good works being done in the community. However, unless a good idea can gather the support it needs to launch and maintain itself, then it remains just that, a good idea. I’m one to believe that when the Lord puts a good idea on someone's heart, that He is up to something and He will see the idea through to fruition--but, it will be done in God’s timing and it will be accomplished by those who step out in faith and make the needed sacrifices. Therefore, this beautiful vision isn't dead--it’s just not the right season right now for such a dream to come about.
Perhaps these ideas will take root within other local churches and organizations and they will carry the torch. Perhaps The Redemption Movement will experience a season of growth and enough committed people will join us so we will have the support needed to do this work. Or, perhaps this vision is really for another community and Oneonta is the testing lab where these ideas could be developed so they can eventually flourish elsewhere. Whatever the case may be, I believe this vision isn’t dead--it’s just on hold.
In the meantime, every Friday you will find the Kindness Team serving those in need on Water Street, making sure people get home safe and experience acts of kindness. Additionally, every Thursday evening you will see the lights on at 148 River Street, and inside you will find a warm, loving environment where people journey together as a faith community.
All in all, while having a sweet building for church is certainly nice, we believe the mission is greater than a building, and, when God’s people gather, wherever they are, it is they who are the church.