An Update from C.J. and Renee’

Dear friends and family,

Hello from San Francisco! It has been a truly incredible year for the Bergmens here in the city. We are so grateful for your continued support for our family, through prayer and financial gifts. We wanted to update you on some pretty significant transitions up ahead for us.

As many of you know, Renee’ and I have had a love for San Francisco for many years. When we decided to come here 2 years ago, it was out of a sense of God’s call to this city, more-so even than our specific role, more than having a steady paycheck, we simply felt the Lord leading us to come and live in San Francisco, to be in it for the long haul, to raise our kids here, to live the gospel out every day to people that may not know about Jesus, and pray that the Lord would do a work in our midst to draw people to Himself. We have seen Him be so good to us as we have followed this call, and we remain as committed today to San Francisco as we have been since day one.

Recently, Justin Anderson (Lead pastor of Redemption San Francisco) came to me and told me that he and Abraham (the other pastor of Redemption San Francisco) had thoughtfully, prayerfully, and with counsel, made the decision to let me go from Redemption. Justin was clear to tell me that it was not because I had done anything morally wrong, not because of incompetence, and not because he does not like me as a person. He felt that our professional differences were cause for us to part ways at this time. He felt that we have spent 2 years working at it, but that there is no sense that either of us would thrive in this context in our respective roles. Justin also communicated that because my particular style of worship leading does not align with his vision for Redemption San Francisco, that it would be best for me to step down from this role. He was gracious in expressing that he knows I have made many efforts to adapt, but that going forward, there will be a better fit for The Redemption community.

First and foremost, Renee’ and I want you to know that we are okay :)
We are of course shocked, sad, and have some hurt over this decision. However, the Lord has been good to remind us of some key things in all of this that have served to bring us a great deal of comfort and relief as we look ahead.

One, He is faithful, and He is enough. Jesus alone is in the position in my life to give me my value, my identity, my worth, to take care of my family, to provide for us, and He has shown Himself to be faithful and trustworthy in much darker circumstances in our lives than this. We truly believe this. Therefore, it is not ultimately the burden of a man or a church to provide for us. We have Jesus, and He is enough.

Two, I trust and submit myself to the authority of Jesus, which involves trusting and submitting to the authority that He has placed over me. At this moment, that is Justin Anderson and Abraham Bates.  And so we submit to them, and we do so willingly, and we do so with joy, even amidst the sadness. Justin and Abraham have been honoring in letting us push back on things, question things, express what we are feeling, and have received all of what we have said graciously. We are so appreciative that they have given us this opportunity, and it has eased the process for us. I choose grace and trust for Justin, and he has chosen the same for me.

Three, the gospel and the kingdom are the most important thing. Justin and I are brothers, and we want the same thing, the gospel to come to San Francisco.  In cases like this, the Lord is interested in multiplication and the preservation of unity in the church. I am confident that both Justin and I are committed to this. Renee’ and I want only the best for him, and for Redemption as a community. I believe that in God’s providence, the results of this will mean more fruit in His kingdom.

So, what it next for the Bergmens? We would invite you to pray with us in this. Here is where we are today. We do not want to leave San Francisco. We do not want to stop ministering to the many people that we have relationship with here. We do not sense a call anywhere else in the world. We do not have interest in uprooting our family and starting over somewhere else. Our prayer would be that we would find a way to stay here.

We are in conversation with 2 churches at the moment for positions in the city.
As always, we remain open to whatever the Lord may have for us.

I am working with an online social media marketing company called Transon Media. This is an amazing opportunity that has recently come up that allows me to work remotely. I am eager to see how the Lord may provide in this job. I am open to working a non-ministry job for a year or 2 in order to rest, pray for direction and call, continue to build up the church in the city with my gifts, fundraise, and look ahead toward a future plant. Renee’ and I have no interest in leaving full time church ministry and in no way sense that the Lord is asking us to do that, however are definitely open to becoming self sustaining financially in order that if and when we plant a church, that burden would not be solely on the church to support us. We have seen firsthand the stress of church planting, raising funds on top of that can be very difficult.

Thank you for reading such a long update. You all know that Renee’ and I are transparent people. We view you all as our family. We want you to be part of our lives and our story and know what is going on with us.

Please pray for us in the days ahead as we seek the Lord’s will and His calling on our family.

With love,

C.J., Renee’, Keane, August

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Redemption San Francisco Update

Hello Friends! It has been some time now since we have posted a public update on all that is happening in our lives and ministry here in San Francisco. It is hard to believe that June marks one year in the city! This year has flown by so fast. We are so grateful to the Lord for how He has worked in our lives these past months. We have come to know Him and depend on Him in some incredible new ways.

If you are not a Facebook friend, you may not have heard or seen the latest addition to our family, August Hannah-Rejoice Bergmen!

We are so humbled and grateful to the Lord for this miracle in our family! So many of you have followed our story over the years and faithfully prayed for us. We thank you for laboring in prayer with us, that the Lord would continue to grow our family. August is just over 2 weeks old and doing really well! Keane is loving being Big Brother and doing great with our new addition!

 

 

Redemption San Francisco is moving forward in exciting ways! We are planning an official weekly launch in June! God has been good over the past year to allow us time to get adjusted to city life, to steep ourselves in San Francisco culture, and to understand how our church can be a blessing to this city. A passage in Jeremiah 29:7 has been instrumental in our hearts this past year. “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” We strongly desire to exist as a church that blesses the city of San Francisco and gives sacrificially to it.

Our focus these past several months has been to engage in discipling relationships, to build genuine community with one another and with our neighbors, and to train leaders who will make disciples. This is the vision of our church.

As we approach the end of our first year in San Francisco, we do have financial needs that we want to bring before our community, to ask you to pray for us, and if the Lord leads, partner with us financially. We need people who are giving to re-commit another year of monthly support, for those those who gave a one time gift to consider giving again, and for the Lord to bring new supporters who have not yet partnered with us in this way.

We know that many of you give in your churches and to several other ministries across the world. We cannot emphasize enough the power of even a small monthly commitment. I know for me, when I am asked to give monthly to friends in ministry I will think, ‘man, I wish I could give $50 or $100 but I just cannot do that right now.’ This often causes me to decide not to give altogether because I would feel like $20 wasn’t really making a dent in the need. That simply isn’t true. Our very first commitment we received for this ministry was $20 a month from a girl that was in our old college ministry. She is a beloved younger sister in the faith. Her faithfulness to us, and her desire to partner with us in this effort is incredibly life-giving and edifying to us, and believe me, every amount helps. If 50 people were to start giving us $20 a month today, that would be a game changer for our family. It would free up time and resources for me to give to building relationships in the city and the greater kingdom here in San Francisco.

We thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Please pray that we would remain faithful to our calling, that the Lord would protect our marriage and our family, that His will would be accomplished through us and through Redemption Church, and that above all He would be glorified in everything we do here.

If you do decide to give, you can do so by visiting Redemptionsf.com, clicking “Giving” in the bottom right corner, setting up an account through “easytithe”, and letting us know that you gave on our behalf so that those gifts will be allocated to us. If you are unable to give at this time, but would still like to receive our newsletter, you can subscribe to that on the right hand side of this blog. We would love to keep you posted on the work we are doing here.

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Rom. 11:36

 

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Monthly Newsletter

Hello all, if you would like to stay up to date on all that is going on with the church plant, please sign up to the right for our monthly Newsletter. That will be our predominant method of communicating from here on out. For those of you who are already giving, you are already on the list. Thanks!

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We are here!

Dear friends,

We are officially in our new house in San Francisco. The amount of grace and blessing that has been poured on us, both from the Lord and from His people in these past weeks has been immeasurable, and leads us to worship Him for His goodness and provision.

We had mentioned a house near USF that we were trying to get into. We had reached out and asked you all to join us in praying we would get that place. We did not end up in that house, but long story short, we ended up in an even better place, and the process that we went through to get here was nothing short of a miracle.

We ended up in a neighborhood called “The Inner Richmond“. It is basically near the top right corner of Golden Gate Park. Check it out.

We are incredibly pumped about where the Lord has placed us. I started at Skechers this week, Renee’ is working on getting her business going here in the city and in the greater Bay area, and we are gearing up to begin forming meaningful relationships.

Please to pray that we would have energy, that our family would get settled quickly, that the Lord would provide for all of our financial needs now and in the future, and that people would see the gospel and come to know Jesus.

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Rom. 11:36

-CRK

Some more photos of our place:

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…the latest…

I am sorry that we have not been keeping our blog more up to date in these past weeks. This whole journey has been a roller coaster and different than anything we have ever done in our lives, so knowing how to keep people informed along the way has been hard to navigate since so many things are changing daily.

Let me bring you up to speed on where we are at.

March 4th we moved from Arizona up to Manteca, which is where I grew up and is about an hour East of San Francisco. We moved in to my parents house in order to prepare to move to the city. This has meant looking for jobs and raising financial support. It has also meant time in prayer, time resting, and time as a family gearing up for what we expect to be a very difficult and yet very rewarding ministry endeavor. I think it is ok to say that part of my own lack of online communicative presence has been due to my own wrestling match with the Lord through this whole thing, continuing to ask this question, “Are you sure”? I would be foolish to not give weight to that question, because the reality is, this thing we are about to do is not going to be easy or comfy. If you know Renee’ and I you know two things about us. One, we are risk takers, but two, we are sensitive and have been through an enormous amount as a couple and family. That can be quite a pair of things to hold in tension friends. We have sought help from the Lord in these days to hold them together well.

In any case, our resolve is deep and it is set, we are moving to San Francisco one way or another, and at one time or another. We are fervently praying and pleading today that this would be soon. In fact, we are praying for June 1st. Here is why. The Lord has brought an amazing apartment situation in the University of San Francisco panhandle area. The apartment overlooks the University and is also very close to Haight and to Golden Gate Park. It would be more than what we could ever imagine for a place in the city. The price is phenomenal and would be a great long term place for us.

If I can speak candidly, we have one major barrier right now, finances. Let me give you a picture of where we are at there. Our goal is to be fully supported by monthly pledges or one time gifts from people who believe in what we are doing and want to help plant a church in San Francisco. Full financial support frees me up to focus on pastoring, and it keeps Renee’ from having to work so that she can pursue ministry relationships and care for our family.

At the moment, we are 1/4 of the way there on support for a workable salary to get in to the city. This means we must supplement 3/4 of our salary. Renee’ is working on building her Photography business up here in Northern California to help out with 1/4 of what we need. If you know anyone who might want family, engagement, or wedding photos up here, please let her know, that would be extremely helpful.

Another 1/4 of our need looks to be secured in me doing some freelance worship leading and music related work. There is a church up here that I have connected with that wants to bring me in a few times a month to lead worship. This is a good short term scenario, but in the long run will not be the most ideal. Nevertheless, we are very grateful for this, as it is bringing us one step closer to San Francisco.

The final 1/4 will have to come from another source. Our prayer would be that either I will find a job for this final amount, or that we can double where we are at with our monthly support. Our prayer would be that within 6 months, this amount comes from financial support, rather than a 20 hour a week part time job.

We would ask anyone reading this to prayerfully consider partnering with us both financially and in prayer. It has been a humbling process to reach out to people, some whom we know well, and others who we don’t know well or have just met, and ask for money. I have watched many friends go through the support raising process over the years, and now that I am in it first hand, I see that it can be very difficult. My biggest fear in asking for peoples’ money has to do with not wanting anyone to feel like I “just want their money” and don’t care about them. When thinking about asking, I tend to measure whether I think someone would want to give against how much I have invested in them. This has really revealed and rooted out some pride and people-pleasing tendencies in my own heart over the past few months. It reveals a tendency towards a transactional view of relationships that is not rooted in the gospel, but rooted in my flesh. I have asked for His forgiveness, and I ask for yours.

The reality is this: God wants to plant Redemption San Francisco because He wants His Gospel to go into that city to do a great work for His glory. I have had to realize that we are not asking you to give us your money. We are asking you to partner with what the Lord is doing and will do in this city. I must ask with that confidence, and so I do. Please pray that the Lord would lead you. We are looking for monthly commitments. It can be $10 a month or $100. It doesn’t matter. Every dollar is a step towards a city that is desperately void of the gospel. We believe our family will be used greatly there to further His Kingdom.

We are very close to having what we need financially to at least get in to the city and begin ministering there. Please pray that the Lord would work mightily in the next 3 weeks to help make it happen. We have submitted our application to this landlord as well as a breakdown of exactly where we are at financially. It will take nothing short of a work of the Spirit to cause them to allow us to rent their place. We trust that if the Lord wants us there and our time to move is now, then He will make a way for us.

Thank you so much for your continued prayer and support of our family. We are overwhelmed with gratitude,

C.J. Renee’ Keane

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How to give

Thank you for prayerfully considering supporting the Bergmens as we work as Church planting Missionaries in the city of San Francisco. We are praying that the Lord would provide us a salary 100% based on support from other believers. This can be done through one time gifts, or monthly commitments. Several of our givers have started at the $30-$100/month commitment level. However, any amount is an enormous blessing to us.

Here is how to give.

ONLINE
Step 1: Go to redemptionsf.com and scroll to the bottom right where it says “Giving”.

Step 2: There will be a login portal. If you have never given to Redemption, you will need to set up a new account. Once you do, log in there and it will bring you to a page for giving.

Step 3: Choose an amount to give, it will say “General fund”.

Step 4: Let us know that you gave, the amount, and whether this is a one time gift or a monthly commitment. We will send an email letting them know that the donation sent from your name is intended to go to us. You can email C.J. at CJBergmen at Gmail dot com.

BY CHECK

Step 1: Make all checks payable to Redemption Church. In the memo, write San Francisco Church Plant. Mail checks to this address:

295 Ewing Terrace
San Francisco, CA 94118

Step 2: Let us know that you gave, the amount, and whether this is a one time gift or a monthly commitment. We will send an email letting them know that the donation sent from your name is intended to go to us. You can email C.J. at CJBergmen at Gmail dot com.

We are so grateful that you would join us in this effort. May God be glorified in this new church.

C.J. and Renee’

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San Francisco update

Hello friends,

The day is swiftly approaching for Renee’ and Keane and I to load it all up, and head to Northern California. It has been amazing to watch the Lord provide for our family and to give us unbelievable confirmation along the way. We have been selling almost everything we own. Thank you to all of our friends who bought most of it at full price! What a blessing you all are!

We have continued to meet with the Core team each week for a meal, fellowship, prayer and vision casting. Renee’ and I are so excited for how this group of people is going to be used to live out the gospel to the people of San Francisco. We are daily going before the Lord to cast all of our cares, fears, and concerns at His feet. We know that He will provide for our every need!

We want to praise God for helping us rent out our house without us doing anything. We were getting ready to list the house this week and then a friend reached out and asked if they could come and look at the house. They came the other day and told us right then that they wanted to rent our house! What a huge answer to prayer! These are the tremendous ways that the Lord is blessing us and watching over our family as we answer this call!

Please continue to pray for us. Here is what we need. Many have asked about support and timeline. The best way to support us would be to pray about a monthly gift and start with a commitment of a year. The goal is for us to be a fully operating church in 3 years. We know that 3 years is a long time to commit to giving to us. Would you consider 1 year and then pray about whether the Lord would have you continue after a year? If you decide to give, you can visit redemptionsf.com  and begin giving March 1st. Please do not think that giving $10 a month is not significant. It is! Our heart’s desire is that those who would want to be a part of this with us would, even if on a small level. You know us, we would rather do this together with hundreds of our friends! I remember when we raised money for Keane’s adoption. We had very few large checks come through. It was mostly $10′s and $20′s trickling in one by one. What a huge blessing to see those names of dear friends partnering with us. So join us! This is God’s church and His plan for San Francisco!

We will continue to update this blog as we move along on this journey.

We have tried to reach out and connect with as many of you Arizonans before we leave! We love you all dearly and will miss you so much! Please keep in touch and come visit us in the city! (Not all on the same weekend)

PS, that picture at the top of the post is in Hayes Valley, which is where Renee’ and I are hoping to live.

Love and blessings,

C.J. Renee’ and Keane

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San Francisco

Dear friends and family.

Those who know the Bergmen’s well know that the story our life tells is one filled with adventure. This season is no exception. We find our story deep within the context of the one great story, the story of redemption. God has been seeking to redeem His creation in all of history, to call a people to Himself, to show them the riches of His kingdom, and to bless them in order that they might be a blessing to the whole world. This is the story we are in, and it is the story we are desperate to have told through all that we do as a family. To exist for His glory, and to enjoy Him every step of the way. That is the call the Bergmen family joyfully accepts.

We have been blessed to serve at Mission Community Church in Gilbert, AZ for the past 2 and a half years. What an amazing place Mission is. God has been using Mission to do justice in His name both locally and globally. People are joining that vision by the droves and it has been incredible to not only witness, but to participate in. It has been difficult to move on from Mission, and we have wrestled much to understand what God is doing in our lives. I have loved getting to serve as Worship Pastor, to hone my craft as an artist and develop my call as a shepherd. I am deeply thankful to the Lord for giving our family a space to grow in our gifting, and walk humbly through our grief. To say the least, we have learned a tremendous amount in the past few years there, and will miss Mission dearly. We want to thank the leadership of Mission, as well as all of the people, for loving us, and for allowing us to step out in faith and begin this new chapter.

The call we find ourselves in the midst of today seems surreal, and yet we are not surprised. We knew that God had something for us, but did not know exactly when or how it would be revealed. Renee’ and I have always loved the city of San Francisco. It began when we were dating and would visit there a few times a year. We were engaged in the city, and have made a stop at least once a year since being married. We always talked about what it would be like to live there, but those early desires were pretty steeped in nostalgia, something we were conscious of.

Tim Keller has been an author and pastor that has helped shape Renee’ and I quite a bit over the past few years. We listened to a talk he gave sometime last year that I can look back now and see had a profound impact on our thinking. Keller is a pastor of a church called Redeemer in Manhattan, New York. He makes a plea for church planters, and evangelicals everywhere, to move back into the city centers of America. Christians are leaving urban areas in staggering numbers. High costs of living, crime rates, and the inconveniences of city life are only a few of the reasons for this. I think that started a work in us that was more powerful than we knew at the time. Thought and prayer around those ideas would take nostalgia and transform it into call in a special way over the course of time. We now see how God was putting the building blocks in place to move us into the city of San Francisco.

So, we are going. Redemption Church is sending a team to plant a church in the heart of San Francisco, in the Lower Haight district, just west of downtown, north of the Castro district. There are 5 main neighborhoods that we are focusing on. Haight Ashbury (The birthing ground of 60′s psychedelia), Alamo Square (Full House anyone?), Cole Valley, the Panhandle (which leads into Golden Gate Park), and Hayes Valley. Lower Haight is a place where locals live. It is less transient, and is less likely to attract people who move from out of state to the city. In short, it is challenging, and epitomizes the unchurched landscape of the greater city. We can’t think of any place we would rather go.

The area that Renee’ and I are currently thinking and praying about landing is Hayes Valley. It is one of the more expensive spots out of all of the neighborhoods, yet there is a pull to that place for us. It is rich with culture, diverse, attracts artist types, and is a growing community. Here is a link to read more about Hayes Valley.

Hayes Valley, San Francisco

Essentially, there are a handful of couples going, and we are each looking to land in one of the 5 neighborhoods. We will do life with the people in our neighborhood, with the specific purpose of living out the gospel in a tangible way. Our goal will be to love and serve our neighborhood through an organic, grassroots discipleship model. Yes please.

We are excited, scared, and excited. Yes, mostly excited. We would covet your prayers, and would ask you to pray also how God would call you to participate with us. We have to raise our entire salary to be in the city. Our plan is to move to my parents house in Northern California (about an hour east of the city), and look for jobs and a place to stay until we have the means to move into the city.

Please visit Redemptionsf.com for more information.

Here is a copy of the prospectus that will tell you where we are going and what our main objectives are in the city. Prospectus

If you have any questions, please send myself or Renee’ an email or a facebook message. We would love to connect and share more of the details.

God has been faithful and good to our family. He has allowed us to endure many things for the sake of His kingdom and glory. We give Him all praise and honor for the work He has done and continues to do in us. This new season will prove to be another great time of learning and growing in Him. We rest in the faith of knowing that He is sovereign and guiding our every step. May our only aim be His glory.

With love and gratitude,

C.J. Renee’ and Keane

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