A Repenting Church

How one congregation turned (and continues to turn) from its sins.

As I drove into the church parking lot that Saturday morning, long forgotten emotions began to surge within. As a former associate pastor and 30-year member here at Redwood Chapel, I had been invited to this one-day leadership retreat called to deal with our current crisis.

My mind raced through the 53-year history of Redwood Chapel, the church I had known since my junior high years. We'd had a glorious past: in 1962 the church founded and has since hosted the Bay Area Sunday School convention (BASS). We'd enjoyed strong music programs led by people like Tom Fettke and Joseph Linn. We were the second church in the nation to have its own cable TV station and broadcast services (from the 1970s through the early 1990s). We'd planted vibrant churches in other communities. We had dynamic youth ministries, a strong missions program, and an exemplary educational program for more than 50 years.

But now, after experiencing two difficult pastoral transitions, we were reeling from the loss of nearly ...

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