Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra profiles “the life and times of Redeemer Presbyterian Church” for TGC:
The spiritual scene wasn’t much better: Less than 1 percent of those in center city Manhattan self-identified as evangelicals. Without a lot more connections, experience, and money, you’ll have a really hard time, New York insiders told them. Odds are you won’t last five years.
But Keller’s plant has lasted nearly six times that long. When he preaches his last sermon on June 25, Redeemer will be 28 years old. Over nearly three decades, attendance has soared from around 50 to more than 5,000. The congregation expanded into two, then three locations. They ministered to thousands through Hope for New York, re-imagined employment through the Center for Faith and Work, and launched a church-planting hub now called City to City.
Through it all, Redeemer proved the impossible: You can grow an evangelical church in the middle of one of the most post-Christian, least Bible-minded cities in the United States.
Over the past 15 or so years, perhaps no single church (Redeemer) or person (Keller) have been as influential in educating the Western church at large about the importance of and strategy for urban church planting.