Talking Mission and Vision with the Pastors of Redeemer Presbyterian Church

posted by Baker Galloway

pictured clockwise from left:  Alfred Brice, Jeremy Whitley and Tom Gibbs from Redeemer, Lamour Hudson, Allison Stoos, Baker Galloway, Michael Raia, James Lindsay, John Jackson, Bob Galloway. Also present were Kennedy Colombo, David Polkinghorn and Jonathan Langdon.

We recently hosted Redeemer Presbyterian Church's senior pastor Tom Gibbs and executive director of operations Jeremy Whitley in our studio for a workshop to discuss their church's mission, culture, ministry vision, and growth constraints/opportunities, as well as how all of these considerations might come to bear on the future expansion of their downtown San Antonio campus in a contextually appropriate and missionally targeted fashion. 

“We were delighted to hear from Tom and Jeremy that the recent campus renovation we designed has served as a growth catalyst for their mission. What folks had always been hearing about from the pulpit, they could now see physically take form.” 

Jackson Galloway helped Redeemer move downtown originally by providing architecture, interior design and signage design services for the renovation of a 1960's brutalist concrete YMCA building for use as a church. You can view that project here

During our meeting and over a BBQ lunch we discussed the use of Redeemer's site, how future projects would interface with what is currently there, contextual style precedents on and off campus, and how to navigate the landscape of traditional and contemporary design options. We talked about the challenges and rewards of aligning ministry staff to a unified focus in a way that can empower them rather than micro-managing them. We also talked about how does a church (or any organization for that matter) preserve the ‘startup’ energy that spurred initial growth once brick-and-mortar facilities are built. Ideally, senior leadership will continue to challenge and provoke the church body out of comfortable complacence – to stay just enough off-balance to keep forward momentum; but not push to the point where everything is unstable. It is a remarkable thing to watch gifted leaders do this kind of work. 

Tom and Jeremy came well prepared with a number of images from other projects that they (and we) found inspirational and likely appropriate as influences to reference. Our staff had the invaluable opportunity to hear a senior pastor speak directly and articulately to us about the specific ministry vision of his church; and we all benefitted from a frank and open discussion of our aesthetic sensibilities as we sought the path of wisdom, the path of God's will for this church in it's time and place. 

Redeemer had always been focused on being "in the city, for the city" even before they owned any property. We were delighted to hear from Tom and Jeremy that the recent campus renovation we designed has served as a growth catalyst for their mission. What folks had always been hearing about from the pulpit, they could now see physically take form.

Both of Redeemer's worship services are full at this point and they expect to add a third in the near future. We at Jackson Galloway thank Tom Gibbs and Jeremy Whitley for investing the time to share their vision with us. We wish all the folks at Redeemer Presbyterian Church all of God's best; and we hope for a continued fruitful partnership in the years to come.