Redeemer Fellowship Church

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Led by Chris Bass, a NETS Residency graduate and Southern Seminary PhD, Redeemer meets in a classic church building minutes from Boston. Their congregation, an ethnic and economic diversity of students and families, draws from area neighborhoods and nearby campuses including Harvard and MIT. They’ve grown from a core of 15 through gospel-proclaiming ministries that build up believers and strengthen the church’s connection to their community. In 2011, Redeemer reached a significant milestone, ordaining their first elders and welcoming in charter members.

Watertown was thrust into the national forefront in 2013 during the Boston Marathon bombing. Though a mere handful of visitors showed up the following Sunday, Chris was not discouraged. Members recount story after story of gospel conversations emerging from that tragedy where no interest existed before. As World magazine pointed out, “[Chris] Bass looks forward to his church members serving neighbors slowly, over time. ‘We know it’s not a sprint,’ he says. ‘It’s a marathon.’”

The marathon continues. That May, Redeemer held a free carnival on their lawn, distributing 1,000 hot dogs and meeting new neighbors and friends. Their 2013 Vacation Bible School reached capacity before it started. And each Sunday, more and more visitors are stopping by and hearing the only message that has the power to change their lives forever.

The NETS Effect

Chris and Brandi came to NETS in 2006 while Chris was completing his PhD. Before sending them out, NETS helped Chris secure over $350,000 in four-year funding and over $150,000 for a building fund. NETS connected Chris with denominations and foundations, and underwrote, coached, and produced materials for fundraising. Existing NETS Network churches added Redeemer to their mission budget. And NETS mentors have coached Chris and Brandi through everything from choosing elders to launching women’s ministries to counseling a church through a high-profile crisis.

But the church building remains the most visible and tangible asset NETS has provided. NETS purchased this 60,000-square-foot facility for Redeemer, and NETS and Christ Memorial took the lead in renovation and necessary upgrades, including constructing a parsonage. This has saved the church thousands per month in rental expenses while providing a steady stream of rental income. The building hosts a Korean church, conferences including Plant New England and the TGCNE Leadership Summit, and John Piper, who preached to over 500 people one Sunday morning. In 2013, Redeemer purchased the building from NETS for the cost of the remaining mortgage. 

Redeemer is also a blessing to other NETS Network churches. They support NETS planters through their mission budget, special offerings, and short-term mission trips. They’re still the chosen site for Plant New England. The relationship between NETS and Redeemer continues, and it continues to grow.