The Church building is closed today due to weather. Please email us at if you need help with anything.

The Celebrity who hated attention…

I want to tell you a story about a super-hero, disguised as a mild-mannered, glasses-wearing, soft-spoken, thoughtful reporter, working in Metropolis…

No… this is not a story about Super Man, but about Tim Keller, the founder and pastor of Redeemer Church in New York City. In 1989, a professor from Westminster Seminary in Glenside, PA answered an audacious call from God, to go to the biggest metropolis in the country. At that time, less than 1% of the people in Manhattan attended a church. Many would call the city of lights a very dark place in terms of faith. But Keller saw that city as a mission field full of potential. The Presbyterian Church of America- Keller’s home denomination, told him that it was a fool’s errand to try to start a church in that ‘God-less’ city. The denominational leaders encouraged Keller to continue to teach at Westminster, that his intellect was better suited to the classroom than the mission field. But God had a different vision, and Keller had an obedient heart, and thus Redeemer Church was born on the campus of Hunter College on the Upper Eastside. During Keller’s almost 30-year pastorate, the church grew to over 5000 in attendance, and gave birth to over 100 other congregations of faith in urban centers like New York, Chicago, Boston, and Montreal. Keller trained a whole team of ‘reporters’ who inspired their cities with the greatest story ever told.

Tim Keller’s powerful urban ministry began in a small country church in Hopewell, VA. From there to a seminary classroom, and finally to the streets of New York City. Keller was introverted… cerebral… his sermons were straight-forward, no nonsense applications of God’s Word to the everyday life of his people. The first time I went to see Tim Keller preach, I expected a show that would capture the attention of a jaded New York audience. I thought I would find a band and stage lighting, screens, and video clips… but instead, I experienced classical worship, with an organ, liturgy, and a 45-minute exegetical sermon. I had to take notes to keep up with his thoughts. He was not what I expected. His ministry was not what I thought would have any chance of success with young adults in the city that never sleeps. Yet, that day I was surrounded by young professionals- a diverse, cosmopolitan, highly educated congregation eager to hear every thought Keller shared.

Keller had the quiet confidence of one who knows the truth, not the bombastic insistence of one who is trying to convince others of the truth. He brought an ancient faith into the lives of busy young professionals, corporate managers, Ivy League-educated consultants, artists, and musicians. He had a conversational, non-abrasive approach… a close friend described as a “come let us reason together” experience. He listened well to those who disagreed with him, commenting that each conversation “added to the richness of his life.” Keller had strong convictions about the One who is the Truth but expressed that faith without hard edges. He wrote, “If the Bible is true, the whole universe is a universe of joy, of glory, of life… we on earth are stuck in this tiny speck of darkness… but one day the darkness will be taken away.” Tim Keller was one of the 21st century’s most influential and revered church leaders… a pastor and theologian… an author who sold more than 25 million copies of his books… the co-founder and driving force behind Redeemer and her sister churches… a mentor to many… a counselor… a friend… all couched in a mild-mannered, glasses-wearing, soft-spoken, thoughtful reporter of the good news of Jesus Christ.

On May 19, 2023, Timothy Keller was welcomed home into the Church Triumphant after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was just 72 years old. During the last chapter of his life on earth, Keller offered the church an honest glimpse into his journey. In 2020, when he was given the diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Keller wrote: “Despite my rational, conscious acknowledgment that I would die someday, the shattering reality of a fatal diagnosis provoked a remarkably strong psychological denial of mortality.” He confessed that his battle with cancer often felt “unfair.” He described the cancer as “an agent of death growing inside of me.” Yet, in his last days, surrounded by his family, with his wife Kathy at his side, Keller told his son Michael: “I’m thankful for all the people who have prayed for me over the years. I’m thankful for my family that loves me. I’m thankful for the time God has given me, but I’m ready to see Jesus. I can’t wait to see Jesus. Send me home.”

Keller’s brilliant mind and pastor’s heart have shaped my faith and ministry for 20 years. I invite you to experience the good news through this mild-mannered reporter…

Here are some of my favorite Keller books: 
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering
The Meaning of Marriage- Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
The Meaning of Marriage: A Couple’s Devotional
Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God
Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth behind the Birth of Christ
Prodigal God
With you, blessed by the witness of God’s people,
Posted in

No Comments