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Meet Tanner Turley of Redemption Hill Church in Medford

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tanner Turley.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Our church started with the dream of seven people who wanted to see a new, flourishing spiritual community started in Medford. Redemption Hill was birthed out of a desire to help people connect their story to the story God wants to write in our lives. That story is filled with unlimited potential to experience harmony, not just at a spiritual gathering, but in every sphere of life every day. As the atheist turned Christ-follower, C.S. Lewis once said: “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.”

Through a series of steps to invite people into a community like that, we gradually built a core group of people that has grown into a group of 200 six years later. We meet weekly at the historic Chevalier Theatre in Medford Square (10:30a).

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Certainly there have been struggles along the way. When you rent space for Sunday worship and do not own a permanent facility, many people do not know you exist.

Then, of course, there is a general skepticism and even distrust among many people, which we totally understand. What’s this church all about? Are they sincere? Do they really walk the walk, not just talk the talk? Do they want to see Medford and Greater Boston become a greater place or is it really all about them? If I come to one of their events or on a Sunday, will I be welcomed or judged? Those kinds of questions.

Tell us about Redemption Hill Church – what should we know?
There are many things I love about our church, but let me share three:

1) We have always said we want the demographics of our church to match the demographics of our city. Boston is a beautiful mosaic of people from across the ethnic, socio-economic, generational, educational, and vocational spectrum. That is our current reality, and we look forward to it increasing over time.

2) We have a reputation for serving our city. We want to be known for putting people above ourselves, like Jesus. The central message of Christianity culminates in the greatest sacrifice of love: laying one’s life down for the sake of another. That’s what we strive to do. We want people to see we are here to do something for them, not take something from them. That leads us to efforts like Thanksgiving meal giveaways, Food and Clothing Drives, Fun Days for Families, Soccer Nights (free kids clinic), partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Medford, and beautifying dozens of Medford parks over the years, and much more.

3) While I’m really thankful for the great group of leaders in our church, we are making an impact because of every person who calls Redemption Hill “their church.” Every person brings something unique to the table. It’s an incredible joy seeing different people with different gifts from different walks of life coming together under a common purpose to be a force for good.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Well, it may sound cliché for a pastor to say but I would say love through grace. What we have received from God, love through grace (we are imperfect people after all), we try to give to one another and to everyone we meet.

The Christian life is not simplistic, but it is simple. It’s really all about being like Jesus. We do that as best as we can each day, flaws and all.

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