Dr. Jeff Redlin (Youth Ministry ’87), pastor of Campus Church since 2018, is known for sermons that share practical truths in a humorous and humble manner. After graduating from Pensacola Christian College, he traveled with Ensemble teams as a representative for the College for two years and served as youth pastor of Campus Church until 2003. He was the senior pastor of Front Range Baptist Church (CO) for 15 years before returning to Pensacola.
1. When did you accept Christ as your personal Savior?
I made a profession of faith when I was five. As the memory of a five-year-old recalls, I had wanted to participate in the Lord’s Supper because I liked grape juice. My mom had told me, “Well, as soon as you get saved, you can partake.” Shortly after that, I said that I wanted to get saved, and then I got grape juice, so that was my motivation. When I was 17, I had been struggling for some time with the reality of my salvation. And it was March 20, 1982, that we had a guest speaker in our church. Not that I recall all that he preached, but I just remembered my great need of salvation, and trusted Christ for my salvation when I was 17.
2. As pastor of Campus Church, what are some of your responsibilities that might be less known?
That’s the hardest question of all 10! I will tell you this, when I first started in ministry, it was more of a shock to my system that I was carrying chairs to a location to set up because I thought, “Ministry is preaching and counseling and such.” But Paul calls it “the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:12), and it’s a good clarifier for ministry to put the word “work” with it, because it is work. And God created us to work. Now, I’m not saying that I’m always the guy taking out the trash, because there’s a lot of people that help with doing all kinds of things, but I think sometimes people might be surprised that a lot of what pastors do is just like what other people would do in ministry.
3. What are some changes around campus that have surprised you the most?
The physical changes are always impressive, but I think some of the things that most encouraged me were changes that were appropriate, like beards for men and certain types of shoes for women. Things like that were appropriate changes that actually allowed PCC to retain its founding spirit. Choosing to not make important appropriate changes along the way actually keeps a place from being what it was, in a sense, founded to be. And I think that’s what has always encouraged me about change. There are changes that PCC has made that have kept it true to itself.
4. What is it like working with your long-time friend Dr. Tim Zacharias (Assistant Pastor of Campus Church)?
He is one of those guys that can make me laugh very quickly, and he’s always been able to do that. We have stayed connected over the years, but when the Lord brought us together again here, we picked up where we left off. And what’s interesting is when I was the speaker in our Ensemble [a traveling ministry group similar to PCC’s Proclaim teams today], Tim led the singing in services, and I would preach. For us to continue to have the opportunity to minister together in this capacity is so gracious of the Lord to allow us to continue to serve as friends in ministry. Dr. Zac serves in so many different aspects of Campus Church. He writes, he serves (obviously) as assistant pastor, helps me significantly with counseling ministry, and is just such a blessing, resource, and help to the work of Campus Church. And he still makes me laugh! I’m very grateful for the privilege to serve with him.
5. Sharing time at PCC and Campus Church can make for many “it’s a small world” moments when meeting others and sharing stories. Are there a few moments like this in your experience that stand out?
So, I was in Myanmar. I’m deep in the villages of Myanmar, and I’m staying at a little hotel. In the lobby of this hotel, I met a person that was traveling with like the UN that actually had me as an Abeka video teacher when they were in high school. Because I was talking to someone, they heard my voice and then were like, “Hey, are you . . . ?” and that whole story starts to unfold. That’s one example, but those kinds of stories are repeated over and over and over again.
6. In 2019, PCC’s Student Body partnered with Campus Church to contribute toward its annual Christmas Project, and this past spring, Campus Church chose to contribute toward Student Body’s Missions Project. When working with students through these and other ministries, how have you been encouraged by their willingness to serve?
I’ve been encouraged because students rightly believe they can impact and influence their world for Christ. This generation thinks in global ways that previous generations never have, and they are thinking in ways of “How can I influence not just my world, but the world in substantial ways? How can I influence the world for Christ?” Sometimes, I think the older we get, the more cynical we can become. I pray they never lose the vision for what God can accomplish. It’s been thrilling to partner with students at PCC and to see some really great things accomplished. We’ve poured physical resources into things that are physical, but the intent is to impact eternity. And I’m very deeply convinced that that they get it, and they’re influencing eternity. That’s been very exciting.
7. Where did your love of rhubarb pie begin? What’s the best one you’ve ever had?
Well, that’s an easy question. We had a rhubarb patch in our backyard when I was a kid, so we would always pull a stalk of rhubarb, brush the dirt off it, and then just chew on it and let our faces turn in different contortions because it’s so sour. I grew up eating rhubarb because we had it. And the next question is so utterly easy to answer because the best rhubarb pie I’ve ever had is my mom’s. It truly is, but if it wasn’t, I would say that anyways because . . . well . . . that’s my mom! My mom makes a rhubarb custard pie. Most of the time, people have strawberry-rhubarb pie. That’s a very common combination because the strawberries marry well with rhubarb. But my favorite pie is rhubarb custard pie (and yours should be, too!).
8. Where did you meet your wife, Julie?
We actually met through Campus Church. Julie (Humanities ’94) grew up attending Campus Church. Her dad was a business owner in the Pensacola area and her parents began attending Campus Church back in the ’80s. I was out of college when we started dating, and Julie was a sophomore in college. I’m very thankful for a lot of reasons for the ministry of Campus Church, but one reason is I met my wife because her parents came to Campus Church. And her parents are still here. I was reviewing one of the programs for Rejoice and one of the cameras pans the audience and I see Julie’s dad and mom standing there singing in the service. I thought, “It’s great that they’re here at Campus Church, and we have the privilege to be here with them.”
9. What verse or passage have you found yourself studying and learning from more presently?
Well, here’s the one I’m working on right now. And this one is very meaningful to me presently. It’s Psalm 71:18— “Now also when I am old and gray headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come.” I don’t look at myself necessarily as “old and gray headed,” but I’m not as young as I used to be. But so long as God still has us here, He still has work for us to do. Sometimes we check out in certain seasons of life, but the Psalmist here said, “Lord, I have work to do, and I need you to do it, so don’t forsake me, because this generation needs to see your strength and those that are to come need to see your power.”
10. What are some things you’re looking forward to in 2022?
I suspect it’s not much different from what I have always looked forward to—for a fresh taste of His goodness. We don’t have to look very far to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8). His goodness can be seen in every direction we look. It’s as if God is saying, “This is just a sampling of what’s to come.” It’s like when your grandma used to say, “Save your fork; the best is yet to come!” And, obviously, the last two years have been challenging years, but not without tasting and seeing His goodness.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.