Redemption Road

Redemption Road Church held a drive-through toilet paper giveaway at its location on Highway 47 in Winfield as stores ran out of the item during the pandemic last summer.

Redemption Road Church has become one of the most recognizable and popular faces of the Winfield community.

The church has also become one of the most adaptable in Lincoln County. Redemption Road is known for being a part of nearly every event in Winfield, serving whatever role is asked of them.

During the city’s “Celebrate Independence Day” event every summer, the church handles the children’s events, setting up inflatables, as well as other kids’ games.

“We set up the activities for the kids,” said Ryan Ruckel, associate pastor for Redemption Road Church. “It’s a fun event for us.”

During the holidays, the church is part of Winfield’s tree-lighting event, “Light Up Winfield.” Redemption Road has worn many hats over the years working the event, and it’s more than happy to do so.

“Every year is a little different (at “Light Up Winfield”),” Ruckel said. “One year, we dressed up as Christmas characters, and another year, we provided cookies and hot cider.

“We do whatever is asked of us.”

Like many churches in Lincoln County, Redemption Road Church began as an idea that grew – and is still growing. Jason and Heather Zellmer have built the church from a small prayer group in their living room to a flourishing congregation of nearly 200 people that is part of the Southern Baptist Convention.

One of the original goals of Redemption Road Church was to help those who were struggling with substance abuse. The Hope Recovery Program is an addiction and mentorship program that was created to not only help those overcome their substance abuse, but to rebuild their lives as they overcome their addictions.

Redemption Road Church is also affiliated with Redemption Road Ranch, about four miles outside Winfield. The Zellmers arrived in 2017 to take over the ranch before starting the church, and are the directors.

The ranch sits on about 130 acres, and holds wedding venues, picnics, parties, youth camps, marriage retreats, kayaking, swimming, outreach events and outdoor services for Redemption Road Church with social distancing.

“We love the ranch and everything they do for the community as well,” Ruckel said.

The realities of COVID-19 forced Redemption Road Church to cancel many of its yearly events in 2019, but it hopes to resume them in 2020, including its annual “Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt,” an evening community event. 

Nevertheless, the church presses on.

“We’re trying to get back to normal,” Ruckel said. “It was hard to do anything when COVID was keeping everybody at home.”

Though Redemption Road Church is one of the youngest churches in the county, it has made its mark in Winfield – and Ruckel said that is just as important as ministering to the masses.

“It’s critical churches are part of the community,” he said. “You can save souls, but you can’t save souls if you don’t fellowship with people and be a part of the community, and I hope we can do that and grow every year.”