In an October 9 video announcement, megachurch Pastor Ron Carpenter revealed that his longtime ministry, Redemption Church, will get a new home in its birthplace of Greenville, South Carolina. He also shared his dream of expanding Redemption into a national presence, citing Lakewood and Hillsong as examples.
Carpenter founded Redemption in 1991, leading the church until he and his wife, Hope, moved to San Jose, California, in 2018. On the West Coast, they rebranded the Jubilee Christian Center megachurch under the Redemption name, and last weekend, the ministry celebrated its 29th anniversary.
Meanwhile, Carpenter leased Redemption’s Greenville campus to megachurch pastor John Gray, who rebranded it as Relentless Church. Carpenter has since sued Gray, attempting to have him evicted from the property.
Pastor Ron Carpenter: Redemption Retains ‘a lot of influence’ in SC
Carpenter says he expects Redemption’s new Greenville campus to open in January 2021. More details will be announced on October 24, at a “Vision Night” event. The website RedemptionEast.com notes, “We are taking the DNA of Redemption that you have always loved and packaging it up in a new contemporary look and sound that can only be experienced.”
“We have a lot of tenure there,” Carpenter says of Greenville. “We believe we still have a lot of influence there, and for those that want to be a part of Redemption, we want to give them a place they can call home.” The Carpenters plan to stay in California.
In the video, the pastor also speaks of closing the church’s campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, of experiencing pandemic-related financial strain, and of wanting to expand Redemption’s reach. “I don’t believe that we’re looking for a great preacher anymore,” he says. “I believe the world is looking for a great people. And I believe that you are a great people, and I believe we can expand across the nation and have campuses on the West Coast and on the East Coast, and God can make the ministry great.”
Addressing the fumbled transition with Gray and Relentless, Carpenter says things “were not handled exactly like we thought they would go in a succession,” leaving some church members “kind of disenfranchised.” Calling himself “a very responsible person,” Carpenter reinforces that he’s establishing the new Greenville campus to give people a church home.
Lawsuit Is ‘a fight over church members,’ say Attorneys for John Gray
John Gray, who previously served at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, has faced several personal and professional challenges recently. His attorneys maintain that the legal dispute with Carpenter isn’t “as much about leases and occupancy of church buildings, as much as it is a fight over church members.”
In court filings, Gray’s lawyers say their client “greatly increased attendance,” boosted donations, made extensive repairs, and cut costs—and “Carpenter now wants to come back because the ministry is now in much better financial condition.”
In December 2019, Gray announced that Relentless would soon have a new campus in Greenville, as well as a new congregation in Atlanta. No additional details have been released.