APU alumni set to open new church in Azusa

APU alumni couple Anthony and Bonnie Powell decided to branch off from Oasis Church in Los Angeles and start their own church in Azusa. Redeemed Life Church is scheduled to launch its first service on Sunday, January 31, 2016.

The name of the church comes from their personal story and experience with recovery and brokenness.

“Our goal is to see lives transformed by the Holy Spirit,” Pastor and APU alumnus Anthony Powell said.

This is a nondenominational church, but there are three boards that help direct the church: overseers, a financial board and the board of directors.

“We want to be accountable to the people who are giving to the Kingdom,” Bonnie Powell said.

The Powells have 15 years of experience working in a church and have served multiple church roles together.

“We can have our own plan and our own agenda, but Bonnie and I are very sensitive to the fact that we believe God has called us to partner with him,” Anthony Powell said. “God has given us a clear understanding and vision of what we feel called to do.”

The couple is using the rest of the year to build a team, become financially stable and obtain a location for the church.

“We want our church to be a place people can come where they are at. You can come as whole as you are or as broken as you are. You will still encounter the power of Jesus,” Anthony Powell said.

The Powells want to create a welcoming and accessible environment.

“We want to fuse contemporary [church] but also bring practical theology to it so we can educate people,” Bonnie Powell said. “So you’re not just going to come to church, feel good and receive Christ, you’re also going to learn so you can decide what you can witness outside of the walls.”

Besides educating their congregation about theology, the couple is attempting to create a fun environment, hoping laughter will fill the church building. One way to create this environment is with the help of student interns.

The Powells started an internship program at their previous church and plan to start one at Redeemed Life as well. They are interested in interns for the spring to help them with the launch.

“We are looking for people who are already studying in theology, people who are interested, people who have served in their old church and are looking to serve here,” Bonnie Powell said.

There are opportunities at the church for all students, including areas of art, social justice, spiritual justice and business. Junior accounting major Nate Lenchuk is aware of the importance and impact internships have on students.

“Coming from two previous accounting internships, I learned internships are the best way to grow in your career choice and develop a passion,” Lenchuk said.

On Oct. 17, Redeemed Life Church raised money on APU’s campus. The organization hopes to use the funds it raised to help others.

“We are ready to launch with our capital, but we want to do more than just survive. We want to influence and help the community,” Bonnie Powell said.

Despite their fundraising efforts, the couple has yet to secure a location for their church.

“We are in negotiation with two properties; both are in Azusa. We will find out about these properties in about two weeks,” Bonnie Powell said.

They are also in the process of building their launch team.

The Association of Related Churches has planted over 500 churches, and they have created a template to follow in creating a new church. This template includes information about the budget, launch team and other details. The template suggests having 35 people on the launch team before the first service, but the Powells want to have at least 50.

“Our goal is more, because we serve a God of more,” Anthony Powell said.

They are currently halfway to their goal of 50 people committed to seeing the church launch successfully. They plan to begin training as soon as they move into the building.

“I would be interested in participating and being a part of the program,” Lenchuk said.

Students who want to find out more about Redeemed Life Church should email info@redeemedlife.church.

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