Redeemer Baby, By Anna (New York, NY)

I am a Redeemer baby.

My parents attended Redeemer prior to my birth and upon it, enrolled me in nursery. I then went through the ranks of Sunday School, Youth Group, and got to where I am now, City Campus Ministry (CCM). It’s been a journey.

Recently, I began reading journal entries from grade school. It is clear from reading those that going to Sunday School every week was a constant source of rejuvenation. I think a large part of that was due to church being a safe-haven; one protected from the chaos which pervaded almost every other aspect of my life at the time.

I remember distinctly an instance being touched by the message of God’s love during a retreat weekend my first-year in the Junior High Youth Group. The recurring retreats to Young Life-Lake Champion provide some of the best aspects of the youth ministry. At the end of a teaching they showed a short-film called “Father’s Love Letter.”  Watching it, I experienced a potent realization of God’s love for me. Arriving home I immediately shared my enthusiasm regarding my discovery and persuaded my dad to buy me the DVD so I could share it with my family members.

I can feel God renewing my mission to serve the city I love and for that I am grateful.

Things began to (literally) go south when I reached high school. Redeemer got bigger. Suddenly there were two other congregations, and my friends and confidants were attending them apart from me and my family. Tim Keller blew up (i.e. got really famous, for you non-millennials) and suddenly everyone at Youth Group was from Minnesota or Oklahoma. I struggled to connect with other Christians who were so different from me culturally. I began to question my relationship with a church where the youth group was predominantly White-Upper-Middle-Class. Did I really belong? It didn’t feel like it.

The transition from youth group to CCM was initially a grueling one. I still struggled with the overwhelming presence of non-New Yorkers and the feeling of disregard I encountered when I tried to share my own upbringing.

I became tired and bored of intellectualism and the mission of Redeemer to serve skeptics on that level. However, upon attending RUF’s winter conference with CCM, seeds for deeper relationships were planted. Over the summer I attended a small group bible study where I entered true fellowship with people I never thought I could be one with.

I can feel God renewing my mission to serve the city I love and for that I am grateful.

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