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Shepherding Groups Coming this Fall!

July 05 2018
July 05 2018

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Among the many things that make Redeemer special are its commitments to joyful worship, God's freeing grace and serving our city in word and deed. These commitments are foundational to Redeemer's growth and the life-change so many of us have experienced over the years. As a growing church, however, Redeemer's size can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. The bigger Redeemer becomes, the harder it is for our members, particularly our newest ones, to feel at home and experience genuine care in the Gospel. For this reason, the Session has decided to establish Shepherding Groups, to help address this important concern.

Though these ideas are still being worked out, a Shepherding Group shall be formed when two, three or four existing community groups are joined together under the oversight of one or more Redeemer Ruling Elders (not strictly geographical parishes). It is also expected that RPC deacons will provide important support to these groups. The hope is that these groups will connect the entire membership of Redeemer to its leadership, community and mission, so that members are known and cared for, become valued participants in Redeemer’s ministry and experience accountability for living in the truth and grace of the Gospel.

Unlike Community Groups and other important discipleship opportunities at Redeemer (e.g. Spiritual Formation Adult CE classes, Men's and Women's ministries, Young Adult Ministries, etc.), the goals for Shepherding Groups are broader and more holistic in focus. As Shepherds, RPC ruling elders want to help members experience a personal connection in the church and encourage participation in Redeemer’s overall program of discipleship. It's not so much the expectation that these shepherds will be day-to-day disciplers, as much as those who will encourage Redeemer members to engage with the regular discipleship opportunities occuring at Redeemer.

In addition, Redeemer's growth also makes it difficult for our pastors to attend to all of the pastoral responsibilities we face as a congregation. Therefore, Shepherding Group leaders shall provide members with another important point of personal, spiritual guidance in times of crisis, transition or significant life events.

To fulfill their purpose, Shepherding Group leaders will focus on four practices:

  • Care & Visitation: Shepherding Group leaders will have primary responsibility for ensuring new members to their group are welcomed and integrated into a community group, visitation during hospitalizations or the death of a loved one, and guidance during times of crisis.
  • Community Group Visitation: Through periodic visitation, Shepherding Group leaders shall encourage strong community group participation, provide guidance to their leaders and ensure that group members are well informed about important church initiatives.
  • Prayer: Shepherding Group leaders shall exhibit their spiritual leadership by knowing their members well enough that they might be covered in prayer. It is hoped that Shepherding Groups will promote a greater practice and culture of prayer at Redeemer.
  • Gatherings: Two to three times per year, Shepherding Groups shall gather together to practice hospitality and celebrate our common life together.

This is an exciting development and one that will surely enrich and strengthen the Redeemer community. Our hope is to form our first Shepherding Groups this fall. So stay tuned for further communication. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me, one of the other pastors or any of the ruling elders.


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