When one attends Redeemer it does not take long to hear the two words “community group.” CG’s at Redeemer are the place for one to be known and cared for. We believe at Redeemer that community is key to the Christian faith. In the same way that it is vital for adults to experience this rich community, there is another generation that is entering the doors of Redeemer week after week who need the same thing.
Children are a growing part of our congregations. Each week we have over 600 children enter our Sunday school classes at the different sites. In the last couple years the Children’s Ministry staff have been thinking about this question: “how can we create community for our kids?”
Every congregation has thought through this a little differently and has created some different programming and events that would help provide community for kids and families:
Dive Deep on the ES, Club 56 DT and WS, class gatherings, co-ops, and home Bible studies throughout the city have all been opportunities for kids in different age groups to begin to experience community with other kids.
Last fall Redeemer West Side launched a new program called “Kids Community Group.” KCG is a midweek program designed to take kindergarten through fifth grade students deeper into God’s Word and create a place of small group community for them. Every child involved in KCG is in a small group with 4-6 other kids their age and a small group leader. After a time of worship and Bible study in a larger group setting, they meet in their small groups for discussion and prayer.
It is amazing to see how even at a young age kids need that place of community. As friendships formed we watched kids begin to open up about questions they had about God, things they were thinking or struggles they were having. We watched kids begin to pray for one another and really begin to care deeply for their peers. In addition to Wednesdays, kids began to want to get together outside of KCG and invite their friends from school in to this community. We watched kids who did not attend Redeemer or have Christian faith be intrigued by this community that was being built at KCG and wanting to be a part of it. We have watched our Sunday school ministry grow, as kids are excited to come to Sunday school and excited to bring their friends.
Gospel Community changes us and God uses it to show us more of himself and our need for him. It is our prayer in Children’s Ministry that God would use this program as well as other programs in CM to grow these little New Yorkers in their knowledge and understanding of him — that it wouldn’t be a place of just friendship but a place of being changed by the Gospel.
We are excited and hopeful for another ministry year of KCG as well as other community building programs and events at all three congregations. To find out more about Children’s Ministry at any of the three congregations please visit redeemer.com.