The church you see around you today grew from a group of five families that began meeting in the home of Jeff Shafer, a Roseburg physician, in early 1983. As others joined the group, Dr. Shafer sought assistance from his former church, Grace Community Fellowship of Eugene. With the pastoral staff of Grace Community providing worship and teaching leadership, the local group continued to grow in numbers and soon needed a larger meeting place. On Easter of 1983, they met for the first time as an "official" church in the choir room at Roseburg High School. Modeling itself after Grace Community, the new church emphasized worship and teaching.
Grace Community continued to assist the fledgling church by helping in the selection of our first pastors. In June of 1983, Jeff Wells, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, became our first Teaching Pastor, and David Ashenbrenner, a graduate of Multnomah Biblical Seminary, became our first Worship Pastor. Leaders from Grace Community also interviewed men within the new Fellowship, and following the criteria of 1 Timothy and Titus, selected our first Elders. At that point, the church became autonomous.
In the fall of 1983, God provided a three-story building in downtown Roseburg for Redeemer's to rent. With about 15,000 square feet of usable space, the building served our needs well as we continued to grow. In the fall of 1987, First Christian Church of Roseburg sold us the building for a $30,000 down payment and an agreement to pay the balance of $120,000 on a 30-year contract. In order to repay the loan as quickly as possible, and realize substantial savings in interest payments, the Elders authorized a pledge program called "Committed to Growth." Through this program God honored our stewardship and we were able to pay off the balance in six years.
In March of 1989, Pastor Jeff, a Texas native, left Redeemer's to start a church near Houston. Bob Vogel, an Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Western Baptist Theological Seminary, served as Interim Teaching Pastor through December of 1989. An exhaustive national search by the Elders of Redeemer’s culminated in January 1990, with Steve Walker accepting the call as Senior Pastor. Steve, a Roseburg native, received his masters degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and his doctorate from Western Seminary in Portland. He came to Redeemer’s from San Diego, CA where he served for nine years––two as an associate pastor and the remaining seven as Senior Pastor.
Over the years we have been fortunate to have many wonderful people serve on staff. As we have continued to grow in numbers, God has provided additional staff to meet a variety of needs. With our current staff, and with the efforts and resources of countless others who minister at Redeemer’s, we are able to provide a thriving ministry to children, youth and adults. For both children and youth we have regular weekly programs available. For our adults we offer support, encouragement, accountability and Christian friendship through our Community Groups.
With God’s leading and because of our growth, we stepped out in faith in March of 2003, and began a building program with the hope of being better able to meet the needs of our church family and community. God provided and we moved into our Harvard facility on January 21, 2007. Since then, we purchased the property vacated by a small church next to us, and now use it at Redeemer’s Youth Center. In 2014, we entered into an agreement to purchase another adjacent property, The Harvard Cinemas. This building presently serves as our Ministry Center and is used several times a week through the calendar year.
We have supported our community through many different programs and outreaches through the years. In the past few years, our Garden Project has provided over 20 tons of produce for some of the most needy people in our community. We are woven into the fabric of Roseburg, but our influence extends far beyond. We have sent or supported long term missionaries to Africa, Asia and Central America. At present, we support foreign missionaries in Scotland, China, Malaysia and Guatemala, as well as a campus ministry reaching college students and providing a pastoral presence in Vancouver, British Columbia, reaching the addicted and outcasts. Soon we will be sending church planters to Scotland with the intention of starting a new church.
We have helped send short-term missionaries to places such as Cambodia, Romania and Papua New Guinea. For several years we have partnered with numerous other churches and have offered mission opportunities in Guatemala. Our high school students have been involved with mission projects in Mexico, rural mid-west communities, rural communities in Idaho, in the jungle areas of Guatemala, on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, and in inner city Portland.
After more than 30 years of existence, we find many reasons to praise God for His faithfulness and grace. As Redeemer’s continues to grow, we look forward to what God will do in our midst.