(RNS) The Rev. Timothy Keller, one of the country's most popular and influential conservative Christian thinkers, will step down this summer as senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York.[ad number="1"]
The announcement came during Sunday (Feb. 26) services at Redeemer's three Manhattan locations and was posted Monday evening on the church's website. Those locations also will become independent churches, according to the announcement.
"That means we're all going to be sent out – but that includes me," Keller said, after recounting the biblical story of God calling Abraham to leave his homeland.
— Bethany Jenkins (@BethanyJenkins) February 26, 2017
Keller's last day as senior pastor will be July 1, he said.
Afterward, he will become what he called a "teacher-trainer." He will continue working full time with the Redeemer City to City church planting network to teach and train Christian leaders and pastors, according to his announcement.
He also will remain involved in mid-week events and conferences at the church, he confirmed.[ad number="2"]
Redeemer's three congregations will become "full-fledged congregations" with their own staffs and senior pastors, according to the announcement. That follows a decades-old plan the church put in place so as not to become a single megachurch, but a "family" of smaller churches, he said.[ad number="3"]
Keller founded Redeemer in 1989 as part of the Presbyterian Church in America, according to his website. Since then, it has grown to a weekly attendance of more than 5,000 young professionals in Manhattan.
He also is co-founder of The Gospel Coalition and a New York Times bestselling author.