This season of transition has brought much reflection and prayer regarding what we are about at Redeemer. In this time, we’ve established themes of what is distinctive about us and steers much of our approach to ministry for God’s Kingdom in Indianapolis. Those themes are beauty, brokenness and community.
We said early on that we don’t want to just be a church that has small groups, we want to be a small group church. Christian community has been a strong value at Redeemer since the beginning and we’ve seen it grow and change in ways we couldn’t have imagined or even dreamed of in those first days. The theme and emphasis on community, does not refer to our Sunday worship, though this is one small place community takes place. More importantly, we see community happening beyond our Sunday worship bleeding into where we live, where we work, how we use our time and how we engage the Kingdom around us.
Our community group ministry is a driving force here and is not just a bible study that takes place for an hour each week. Our community groups are centered on engaging in intentional Christian community where we live and how we seek to be a Kingdom presence there. In connecting people to Jesus within community groups, we believe the people of Redeemer will be growing more and more in the gospel and their identities as sons and daughters of the King. We trust this Spirit-changing work will ignite a movement of the gospel that changes Indianapolis, spiritually, socially and culturally.
Redeemer is unique in community and its community group ministry. We have one of the greatest percentages of group participation we’ve seen. Over 80% of our membership and over 60% of our regular attenders are part of a community group. With so many involved, we see our community groups as the place where shepherding and pastoral care is happening most often and most directly. We’ve often referred to our community group ministry as the frontline of pastoral care at Redeemer. This creates such a great responsibility and privilege for our group leaders, so we’ve developed strong training for them and a parish model for their ongoing care and support.
The parish model we practice is another unique piece of how we emphasize community. With so many groups and such a high number of people involved, we chose to break down Indianapolis into parishes geographically—we have six parishes. Each parish has parish leadership or a parish council charged with the care and oversight of its parish and community groups. A parish’s ability to care for its people is driven by its community groups. The parish council exists to support, coach and care for its community group leaders and thereby its groups and group members. In other words, it is the way we know, care for and shepherd our church.