Timothy Keller, the founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City whose faith encouraged Christians and skeptics alike, died May 19 at the age of 72.
Before his death, Keller’s son Michael shared a prayer his father prayed near the end of his battle with cancer.
“I’m thankful for all the people who’ve prayed for me over the years. I’m thankful for my family, that loves me. I’m thankful for the time God has given me, but I’m ready to see Jesus. I can’t wait to see Jesus. Send me home.”
Keller was teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania when he began meeting with a new prayer group that had formed in New York City. With his wife, Kathy, and their three sons, Keller moved to the city in 1989 and Redeemer Presbyterian Church launched on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Over the years, the church grew in multiple locations, eventually transitioning into a network of individuals congregations sharing ministries that had grown vital to their city.
Keller stepped down as senior pastor in 2017 and took on a pastor emeritus role, continuing in ministry with Redeemer City-to-City. The church planting initiative has helped start nearly 1,000 new churches around the world.
Keller didn’t take credit for Redeemer’s success, noting in a video about the church’s 25th anniversary that God was already working in New York when his family arrived in the city.
“We felt because of the need, because of the strategic nature of New York City, because of the people who weren’t hearing the gospel, that there was really no way for us to say no,” he said.
In 2005, Keller co-founded The Gospel Coalition. His numerous books, including “The Prodigal God” and “The Meaning of Marriage,” communicated his compassion for people and inspired readers to pursue a deeper walk with Jesus.
Keller is survived by his wife, Kathy, and their three sons.