In early September over 500 men gathered at the Bibb Mill Event Center in Columbus to hear about a new men’s ministry that’s catching on in our area. It’s called The Redeemed. It was birthed out of a personal crisis of a prominent Columbus businessman, Paul Amos.
The keynote speaker was Tim Tebow, the charismatic former quarterback of the Florida Gators who won the Heisman Trophy and is a regular co-host on the SEC Football Network. Though football was certainly sprinkled throughout his message that night, Tebow’s focus was on turning men’s hearts to Christ, a theme he’s proud to proclaim in any setting.
Tebow was introduced to the group by Amos, the founder of The Redeemed. Amos said, “We really tried to look at who the best Christian speakers from across the whole country are, and especially people who appeal to the unchurched, and Tim stands out. He is just uniquely different because of the combination of his athletic background, his ability to communicate from the stage, and his willingness to be such a profound Christian with a desire to help people come to Christ.”
What is the attraction of The Redeemed, and how did the ministry get started? Paul traces its roots to something that happened to him six years ago. “The underpinnings began out of a personal crisis in my life in 2017. I had gone through a really difficult period as a husband and as a father and as an individual, and I really was feeling isolated and alone. And I was very blessed over the coming several years that so many wonderful people, both here in our Columbus community as well as throughout the country, reached out to me, helped me, became friends with me, and really showed me a way to live a very different life of redemption.”
The logo for The Redeemed reflects the message of the ministry. Amos says, “It’s the lion of Judah coming through the crown of thorns and how Jesus has come and redeemed us ahead of our asking…a chance for us to live a life with him that’s very different than the one we’ve lived up to this point.”
Nathan Dewberry joined The Redeemed in 2022 as director. He explains the importance of providing an outlet for men to be honest with themselves. “If you’re willing to jump out there and really pull back the curtains to see what’s going on in your own life, that you don’t have it all together, men begin to put down their guards. They begin to see that the transformation can happen.”
Paul adds, “I think so many men lead dual lives. They’ve got one persona on the outside that they’re trying to hold up to the world, things they’ve been taught their whole life. They believe they have to put on an image, and on the inside they’re exhausting themselves trying to hold that up, much like the wizard of Oz. For me in my life, that is part of my story was peeling off that mask, peeling off that outer layer and really becoming authentic in the ability to demonstrate who you are. I think that was at the heart of what the redeemed is about, so that people could be truly authentic and truly themselves.”
Nathan says, “When we begin to share the broken places in our life, we begin to experience healing from that brokenness. Paul and I both have had our ups and downs in life, and we’ve needed the restoration of God. And we’ve seen that in our own lives and we want others to experience that.”
“This gives them a safe space to come into and share their story maybe for the first time,” according to Nathan. “They can begin to take that step toward healing and learning how to be transparent and authentic. We have guys from as far away as Kansas City, Missouri and Iowa that are part of those groups.”
Recently The Redeemed has launched in-person groups called huddles. Nathan says they have two groups, one in Columbus and the other in Phenix City. They meet once a month at 7 a.m. “So a guy who says, hey, my kids are involved in sports and I have a crazy job, they still have an opportunity to connect with other men who are like-minded.”
These monthly huddles complement weekly small group meetings. Another form of ministry The Redeemed relies on is their podcasts. Paul says, “We believe each month’s podcast speaks to different topics that are relevant to what men are going through, everything from addiction, to leadership, to struggles, to triumphs, all types of things men need to hear about. We’ve really heard from the community that this is something that’s having a powerful impact on men and a chance for them to learn.”
Paul and Nathan want to be clear…their ministry is not intended to replace church. Nathan says, “our groups are not meant, if you are involved in a church, is not in any way meant to replace that. It’s meant to supplement it.”
Paul adds, “We’re not trying to do everything for everybody. There are incredible ministries here in Columbus and the surrounding area that do wonderful things. I think of Mercy Med and the job they’re doing for men and their health. So we are always looking to outsource to other groups when we realize they’re doing things well.”