For those Redeemerites who have yet to visit the West-side YMCA or hang out on the 2nd or 4th floors of the Hunter West building, you probably have missed out on one of the fastest growing and busiest ministries in our church. Every week several hundred people under the age of 12 gather for worship, a time of teaching, and community formation, yet much of our congregation never gets the chance to witness this event.
Redeemer’s Children’s Min-istry has seen an 11% growth in Sunday attendance over last year, with an average weekly attendance of 405 children in the birth-to-5th grade category. In comparison to 2005 with an average weekly attendance of 193, the ministry has virtually doubled since Redeemer’s first vision campaign. While the majority of our children are in the nursery and preschool classes, we have seen a remarkable growth in elementary age children. This is a very exciting trend to see families committing to life in the city with children in elementary grades. In addition, our ministry to junior and senior high students has seen a 117% growth just since April. This increase is in large part due to committed lay leaders, including many years of leadership by Cregan and Mindi Cooke, and Redeemer’s recent investment in a full-time director, David Plant.
So what does this growth in Family Ministries mean to the larger Redeemer congregation? One of the key elements of the Renew Campaign was the development of lay leaders. With the addition of classes to accommodate our exponential growth, the need for volunteers and leaders to minister to our children is clear. We are asking parents to commit to serve 3 Sundays a year, but we still need others to participate and minister to our children. During an infant baptism service, the congregation takes a vow to help the parents raise their child in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Serving periodically in the children’s ministry is a concrete way of fulfilling that vow. It is incredibly exciting to see children as young as 8 months old hearing about Jesus’ love for them, learning to be in community with one another, and experiencing worship in developmentally relevant ways.
We invite you to come, meet and serve a new generation of native New Yorkers.