Things You May Have Missed About Former SC Pastor Ron Carpenter (A Birthday Article)
For those of you who have followed this blog for a while, there are several articles here about Apostle Ron Carpenter. Ron Carpenter is the visionary and builder of Upstate South Carolina’s first millennial multiracial mega church campus. (Wow that was a lot of m’s but I meant them (lol)).
This article is not only to honor him and his family on this week of his 51st birthday, but to display just a few of the reasons that this pastor has made such an impression.
1). His origins is of small beginnings.
It took many years of driving aroundthe state of South Carolina before I stumbled into a backwoods town called Possum Kingdom. By the time I realized that it was the infamous place I’d heard the apostle talk of so dearly, I was already on the other side of it. It is just that small.
Yes, “good ol’ Possum Kingdom, is the place where the Apostle was born and the stories he can tell you will put you in tears and rolling laughter. Other stories, of course, will leave you in a reflective sentimental state but mostly laughter (lol).
Now with the first church that he started with his wife, Pastor Hope Carpenter, he was not only the pastor but the drummer as well. His wife was not only the keyboard player/praise and worship leader but also head of the nursery. (Now if you really want a funny story ask him what happened in regards to the church’s first air conditioner).
Impressively, the Carpenters were always loyal to their hometown and never “despised their small beginnings.”
Today Carpenter is the pastor of a church of more than 11,000 members.
2). He is a great businessman.
A successful business man has multiple streams of income they say and rumor has it, Redemption took way more than tithes and offerings for it to run smoothly. With professional musicians, a state of the art media department, an administrative department along with church repairs and such, it definitely took even more than a small book store and cafe to keep it going.
Not only were there a few businesses and business deals owned and negotiated outside of church walls but Ron Carpenter had a state of the art gymnasium built on campus that not only members but also non members could get access to.
The apostle even created his own personal ministry where he sold many of his books and traveled throughout the nation speaking. Even now and for a small monthly fee, you can get access to all 25 plus years of knowledge by listening to his past messages via an app called The Vault.
3). He put more investment into the hospitality and first impressions ministries than any other ministry in the church.
Pastor Carpenter repeated a story I’d heard once when I visited right before he left for his new church in San Jose, CA. It was about a man who was the head of a church’s hospitality ministry. This “unlicensed” church member made such an impact on Carpenter that he became this man’s student in order to bring the entire concept back to his own ministry. If I’m not mistaken, Carpenter spoke of being brought to near tears because of the man’s dedication to the church. The combination of order along with the knowledge about the way each person is to be treated throughout the service would soon be deeply rooted in Carpenter’s heart and into the mega church that he founded(click here)..
4). He was among the first of this area to keep and maintain a multiracial congregation.
Now we all know Redemption has had its racial bouts; but with all due respect, it was built in this first united state to secede from the Union. Even those of us looking from the outside in could see the potential difficulty in creating and then maintaining peace between races in a South Carolina congregation especially during that time.. well any time. The few ministries that have tried have either died out completely or maintained a small handful of one other race, much similar to most multicultural Carolina job and school atmospheres.
Every move made at the church wasn’t perfect, but at the end of the day much progress was made. Redemption caused Greenville a major paradigm shift in black and white relations. Pretty soon a trickle of Hispanics, Asians, and Africans would also become its portion.
5). He made gentle, subtle, wise moves against racism until he couldn’t make it subtle any longer.
In 2017, Apostle Carpenter faced a crossroads in his decision to make a public stance against racism. Only after the horrible violence that took place so close to home, in Charlottesville, Virginia, was Carpenter prompted to tell the his congregation and the world where he stood (article here).
What remains unknown is that a year or so before Carpenter made the public announcement denouncing racism, the church was made available to a former minister of music to hold a venue to honor The Charleston 9, nine church members who died in a racist spawned mass shooting.
Included in that nine was SC Senator Clementa Pinckney who made it a law for police to have mandatory dash cams installed (see article about the event by clicking here).
Redemption also hosted the live recording of one of Pastor Ron’s favorite recording artists and friend, Tye Tribbet called Bloody Win.
Finally, if you have any kind of spiritual keenness you may have perceived that the passing off of Redemption Church to African American, Pastor John Gray, in South Carolina was not such a subtle move on the racist chessboard.
There has been very few happenings that could even come close to a city shifting and spiritual/emotional combo of that magnitude. Carpenter gave what he called “his life’s work” in the form of a master key to new Pastor Gray of Houston Texas.
Still, one of the most explosive and telling moments was when he stood up on the seat and demanded his congregation to cheer for the very perspicacious African American pastor on the weekend of his installation. Was Ron challenging this area? Was he challenging himself? or both? or either (lol)? Either way that particular moment was deeper than many may have even comprehended.
Happy Birthday to you Ron Carpenter. We wish you and your family many more years of success and blessings in California and we also pray that you’ll continue to visit us often. We appreciate who were and still are to this area.