Tim Keller made a big announcement Sunday, February 26, 2017, during all eight of the Redeemer Presbyterian services in New York City. The beloved pastor, author and theologian announced that he is stepping down from his position of lead pastor.
Effective July 1, Keller, 66, will no longer be the senior pastor and will instead be teaching at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) and assisting Redeemer’s City to City church planting ministry.
Keller’s move is not the only change the megachurch will face this year. Pending a congregational vote, the church that is currently split across three campuses will separate into three distinct churches. Since 1997, the church has been on a trajectory to fulfill “a vision for not being a megachurch,” as Keller’s wife, Kathy, stated. Like Redeemer, the three churches will have a focus on replicating themselves through church planting. The first church plant of the Redeemer offshoots will be Redeemer Lincoln Square, which is scheduled to open Easter Sunday.
Fans of Keller need not despair over his departure, though. According to Christianity Today, Keller will still be involved in events at Redeemer, including the church’s “Questioning Christianity” series and their fall retreats. “He will probably be speaking the same volume of words as he does now,” Kathy Keller said.
According to Kathy, Keller is eager to teach seminary, even though “there’s a certain level of him that’s going to mourn the connection with a congregation and being their pastor.”
Keller is probably best known for his advocacy for urban evangelism. At the Lausanne Conference in 2010, Keller gave a groundbreaking address about the need for Christians to move to cities and evangelize if they wish to be serious about reaching people for Christ. Additionally, the church he founded, Redeemer, has thrived in New York City for its willingness to engage skeptics and critical thinkers.