In 2015, Sean Mortenson was sent by Redemption Arcadia, with the support of Redemption’s overall Leadership Team, to plant a new congregation in south Scottsdale. Since that time, Redemption Scottsdale has developed into a self-sustaining congregation, meeting on the campus of Scottsdale Presbyterian Church.
In January, Sean expressed to the Leadership Team that he was having some doubts about whether he and R/Scottsdale were best fit to remain in the Redemption family. Sean wondered whether Redemption’s culture might make it more challenging for them to best do mission in their context. Additionally, differences in personality and leadership style between Sean and other leaders in Redemption often made Sean question how much he fit.
The Leadership Team appreciated Sean’s honesty and spent the next months working to understand his thinking and concerns, hoping that R/Scottsdale would remain in Redemption. The current diversity within Redemption congregations and leadership is beautiful and beneficial and we hoped that R/Scottsdale remaining in the family would continue to be mutually valuable.
Over the course of many conversations, however, it became clear that Sean’s doubts and differences — which were sincere, thoughtful, and nuanced — were important enough to him that continuing in Redemption would be unhelpful and overly difficult for the mission of R/Scottsdale and for Redemption Church.
Thus, the Leadership Team made the decision to release Sean and R/Scottsdale from the Redemption family, allowing them to continue their mission to south Scottsdale as an autonomous local church, effective August 19, 2018.
We, the Leadership Team of Redemption Church, wish Sean and the people of R/Scottsdale God’s best as they continue to work to be a faithful presence of Jesus in that community. We will continue to pray for the congregation, knowing that our lives and ministries will continue to overlap as we work together with others to spread the good news of Jesus in Arizona.
Questions & Answers
Will the Scottsdale congregation have a new name?
Yes. Sean and his team are working on details and will soon begin to operate under a new name, with new organizational structure.
What were the differences that made it feel like it wasn’t a fit?
None of the differences are concerns over morality, essential theological beliefs, or other disqualifying character issues. “Fit” and “culture” are more felt than defined, and the specific issues aren’t necessary to be fleshed out.
What happens now?
We’ll pray for Sean, the congregation, and for Redemption to handle this transition with wisdom, grace, and love, and leadership will work with Sean to make it go as smoothly as possible.
Is this a good thing?
It’s definitely not how anybody in leadership planned it out, so in that sense it feels unfortunate. But it also seems clear that this is the right decision, so we trust that God has good and wise plans for all involved.
What will the relationship be between Redemption, Sean, and the Scottsdale congregation?
Though a formal relationship will not continue, we love one another and will continue to work together for the good of our city, largely through participating in the Surge Network.