By Tia Lynn Ivey
It all began with nine friends praying in a driveway hoping to start a church in Morgan County just a few short years ago. Last Sunday, Redeemer Church of Madison held its first service in a brand new building on a $1.7 million property on Bethany Road, drawing an impressive crowd of over 500 people.
Redeemer Church, pastored by John Darsey, has grown exponentially since starting out in 2013. Darsey first held services at the Morgan County Primary School (MCPS) until the congregation outgrew the facility and eventually moved to the Morgan County High School’s (MCHS) auditorium for a year while awaiting Phase I of church’s building project to be completed. Phase II of the church’s building project will tentatively began in 2018 to construct a three-story building to accommodate the large congregation that boasts of large children and youth ministries.
“We do think the church is going to continue to grow and become pretty large,” said Darsey. “We are a young church with young people and plenty of new faces from the community joined us Sunday morning for our first service in the new building.”
Darsey and his wife Jodi, and two children, moved to Morgan County in 2013. Darsey believes Redeemer Church of Madison adds a fresh religious community to the church landscape in Morgan County.
“The church is biblically faithful, but we are culturally accepting,” explained Darsey. “It’s a casual atmosphere. It’s a contemporary service and there aren’t a lot of contemporary churches here in Morgan County.”
Redeemer Church specifically hopes to draw young people and families to the fold, investing in extensive children and youth programs.
“We have targeted young people and young families. My passion is to build this church for this generation and the next generation. I am building this church for my children and my grandchildren,” said Darsey.
According to Darsey, who has served as a First Baptist minister for entire 25-year tenor in ministry, congregants can expect traditional evangelical theology from the pulpit each week.
“We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here,” said Darsey. “There are so many wonderful churches here in Morgan County. I just knew this was something I needed to do because I have always loved this place ever since I first visited in the 1980s…People can expect a casual environment that is going to be diverse and welcoming, that is going to be biblically faithful and extremely loving. This is where all people are welcome. We are a church for sinners…we are open to the community. We love Madison and our goal is to quickly turn our attention from getting these buildings done and start putting our love and our resources into this community.”
Darsey was as shocked as anybody to see his church grow so rapidly in such a short period of time. “It’s a tremendous story,” said Darsey. “What has happened here it has not happened because of me. I’m a witness to it like everyone else. God has done this…and the best thing about our church is that lives have been changed here.”