Redemption Ministries was founded June 8, 2002 by Elder Thuston L. Packnett, Sr. (on his birthday); a third generation member of the Church of God in Christ. Just as with his grandfather, Superintendent James Cason, Sr., God called Elder Packnett to the pastoral ministry.
It was early in 2001 when Elder Packnett began talking to his wife, Sister Bertha Packnett, about the burden God had placed on him to establish a new work. Not serious pursuing a location, Elder Packnett and his wife would often discuss buildings that might make a good worship edifice, and even visited occupied properties to inquire about potential access. There was a church that Elder Packnett really liked and met his requirements. It was located in South Kansas City, fairly easily accessible, not very large and not land-locked from future expansion. One morning Sister Packnett notice that the window of that particular church were boarded up and she immediately called her husband. As soon as he heard the news he went to the church to inquire, only to discover that the windows were boarded due to vandalism. However, as a result, Elder Packnett was able to look around the building and property and get confirmation of his pastoral call.
Elder Packnett began to pray and seek God as never before. He recognized that he could no longer rest or have peace of mind until he answered the call of God. He challenged God (not a recommended course of action). He told God, “You called me to preach, and now You’ve called me to pastor, and I’m depending on You to make a way”. He also told God, “I’ve had opportunity after opportunity to get a storefront, to share a building, and/or to use a school or a center. However I don’t believe You called me to be a storefront pastor, and I want You to prove Yourself”. God already knew what was on Elder Packnett’s heart, but Elder Packnett felt it was important to let God hear it from him. He prayed…“God I want a South Kansas City location. God I want to be in an area where that is still diversity. God I don’t want a huge place, but I want a location where the ministry can grow without moving.”
Elder Packnett had been a lifelong member of one congregation, Greater Holy Temple COGIC, and was privileged to serve under Bishop C.N. Rucker and Dr. J.C. Haynes, two great men of God. Coincidental to a leadership change at the church, Elder Packnett was informed of a building becoming available, which was originally a church, but was now being used as a school. He immediately asked his wife to look at the building because he knew she could see beyond the paint, the repair, the landscape, etc., and see the potential. And sure enough, she called him and said, “You better go see for yourself”. What he found was almost a mirror image (exterior and interior) of the church he had originally desired. After several daily visits, prayer and supplication, and recognizing that God had answered every prayer request, Elder Packnett, as afraid as he’d ever been in his life, asked for the property. All he had was an identity, “Redemption”, which was given by divine inspiration to his wife. He met with the Board of Directors who were responsible for the management of this property to state his case. Not knowing the outcome, but with faith in God, he recognized that he needed help so he began putting his ministry team together. He made three calls to individuals in whom he had complete trust and confidence, he knew they had calls on their lives, and he knew they loved God. These individuals are Elder Cornelius Rucker, Elder Andre Rucker, and Missionary LaQuina Allen. With the support of his Jurisdictional Prelate, Bishop Emanuel Newton, Sr., Elder Packnett received approval for the property.
As soon as the keys were issued, the work began, cleaning, painting, repairing, etc. Seniors worked. Young people worked. Everybody worked!
Individuals invested time and/or money in the ministry, and as a result, Redemption was furnished. Elder Packnett had an old PA system at his home as well as a set of drums. A used organ was located and purchased and Sister Packnett has allowed the church to use her keyboard. God was just being God. Yet there was one more hurdle and that was seating. Elder Packnett did not want to use folding chairs for seating, so he went back to God. He asked God to work it out. Chairs would be sliding everywhere and they wouldn’t be comfortable. Elder Packnett felt pews created a more reverent feel to a sanctuary, and that’s what he wanted. As a result of several calls, a man called Elder Packnett and told him that he understood that he needed some pews. He said they were in great condition, solid wood, cushioned etc. (He was a pastor and a church furniture salesman and had remodeled a church and removed these pews, sold most of them and simply had these left.) He told Elder Packnett that the problem was that he didn’t have many, but if he wanted them, he’d sell them to him for a nominal price. In addition to the near “give-away” price, he delivered them and helped to put them together.
The week before Redemption had its first service, the charter members fasted and prayed that God’s will would be done in this ministry, and anointed the buildings, furnishings, and property. Redemption opened its doors to Kansas City Sunday, December 1, 2002 at 3:30 p.m. to a standing room only crowd, and held its first regular worship service that very next Sunday, December 8, 2002. The rest is history…in the making!