In January 2007, we followed God’s leading to start a new church in Redding, CA. Sent out from Risen King Church where we served for five years leading worship and overseeing young adults, we made a bold move to plant the Stirring Church. Our vision was best captured in these five simple words: We love. We make disciples. Our desire, more than anything, is to love and disciple this unreached generation, to see them come alive in Jesus, encounter His wild love, and live with courage the dreams God has placed within them. Just a handful of friends, we dreamed of an authentic family of Jesus followers who would engage our city with the message and life of Jesus Christ in the most creative ways possible.
Within the first few months, nearly three hundred young adults gathered weekly to seek after God. Getting saved, filled, connected and purposed, these young adults found a place to call home, and more importantly, a God to call their own. Within two years, we planted a downtown campus, reaching a whole new demographic without our city, both families and students. Recognizing our need for wisdom, mentoring and a fuller expression or the family of God, we prayed for God to bring spiritual mothers and fathers. And God did just that. Older couples began flocking into our Stirring family, many of them called by God to come alongside young adults to cultivate meaningful and intentional discipleship relationships.
More than nine years later, the Stirring church has grown into a healthy and progressive expression of the kingdom in our city, Redding, and beyond. We are a Church, embracing people from all walks of life, in which nearly fifteen hundred people gather weekly in our four gatherings, and our soon-to-be downtown campus. We are a Venue, serving our city by hosting community events. Last year alone, we hosted more than 187 non-church community events, including six high school proms. We are a Coffee House, providing space for connection, creativity, and innovation. Daily, hundreds of young adults and professionals gather to work and connect while drinking espresso. We are a Mentoring Center, a citywide initiative to equip mentors, parents and teachers, to foster relationships with our city’s fatherless youth. And finally, we are a Church Planting movement, partnering with church planting teams and works in cities such as Sacramento, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Salt Lake City, Guadalajara, Phnom Penh, and more. Convinced that planting churches is the most effective way to engage our city and greater region with the message and life of Jesus Christ, we carry a deep passion to equip leaders who will plant churches.
As we reflect upon the early years of our church plant, we are beyond grateful for those friends, fathers and mothers, and leaders who took a great risk on a handful of young adults, such as us. We’ve seen God move in profound ways, answer countless prayers, and redeem lives. We’ve found ourselves in a story much larger than our own. Every day, we’re reminded that this is His church, His kingdom, and His earth. The Stirring story is still being written each and every day. Each person we meet, no matter who they are or where they’ve been, becomes a part of this story and shapes it through who they are and who they become. Every day, we’re learning how to be the kind of family that brings hope to the world around us.
Nathan and Erica Edwardson