Local churches: Redemption City

Redemption City Church is a welcoming, down-to-earth church community located at the heart of Eastown. A recent church plant, Redemption City meets at the arts and music center at Aquinas College, just a few minutes from Calvin’s campus.

One reason for Redemption City Church’s location is so that it can focus on its vision, which, according to the church website, is “seeking to be a redemption movement in the heart of the city that transforms lives, forms communities, renews the city and impacts the world through church planting.”

Sophia Medawar is a sophomore studying theater and religion at Calvin. She has been attending Redemption City for about 8 months, and she has been involved through teaching Sunday school, volunteering in the nursery and playing piano for the worship band. One reason she continues to attend is the humility of those in leadership:

“Everybody in leadership there genuinely has a servant’s heart and a passion for community within the church,” said Medawar.

The humility of the church leaders helps create an inviting atmosphere at the church.

Medawar said, “There are lots of opportunities at Redemption City for people of all ages and cultures, and I am excited to see how it grows in the coming years.” Even though most of the congregation consists of young families or young adults, the church’s emphasis on authenticity makes everyone feel at home.

Music at Redemption City gives space for worshipers to honor God in whatever way they choose.

Medawar said, “It’s an environment where people are free to lift their hands or clap and praise the Lord very outwardly, but it’s not overbearing in that sense for the more reserved worshipper.”

There is intentional variety in the songs sung at Redemption City; songs veer from the typical contemporary Christian music repertoire or may consist of modern arrangements of traditional hymns.

“It’s obvious that the band is there to help the congregation worship and not to display or draw attention to themselves,” said Medawar, “I absolutely love the worship experience at Redemption City.”

Other key aspects of worship include weekly communion and weekly invitation to accept Christ. Sermons are characterized by a relatable, conversational tone which Medawar says creates a “very casual and warm environment.”

Another way Redemption City welcomes its members is by inviting them to join community groups, small groups that meet weekly in homes throughout Grand Rapids.

“Any church member is welcome to join whatever community group meets closest to their own home, or whatever community group meets at a time they can attend,” said Medawar. “The community groups are an excellent way for the congregation to get together in the Lord’s name and be a blessing to one another.”

Because it’s such a young church, Redemption City has limited racial and cultural diversity. Nevertheless, the church is committed to becoming a transformative body of believers that welcomes all who come through its doors.

Overall, Medawar says she would recommend this church to Calvin students because of its inviting environment, casual tone and many opportunities for students to get involved.