We Love Students!

We love students! We have students in junior and senior high, undergraduates from a number of area colleges, as well graduate students from a number of departments at Notre Dame – you can’t throw a stone in the church without hitting one. And it’s one of the most exciting aspects of our church. Why?

Our approach here, as everywhere else in how we do church life, is to be missional. Being missional in student ministries means four basic things: we care about pushing the gospel down deep into the hearts of Christians (intensive growth), we care about sharing the gospel out in the world with those who don’t believe (extensive growth), we care about integrating into the broader Christian community (communal growth), and care about sending people out into the world (missional growth). So the reason we’re excited about students is because students are missionaries – to their schools, to their friends, in their jobs and future vocations. And we get to help build up the Church by preparing and equipping them. So what’s that look like?

Junior and Senior High

All junior and senior high students are welcome to join the youth ministry as we seek to follow Christ as his disciples. Out chief goal is to introduce students to Jesus Christ through relational ministry so that they might place their faith in him and become his disciples. God wants people of all ages to follow him and we want to guide students on that journey. Junior and Senior high believers are full-fledged member of Christ’s body and deserve to be given the chance to contribute to God’s mission.

In the youth ministry, students will experience a loving community where they can develop committed relationships with their peers and adult leaders that will spur them on in their faith journey. God’s Word will be taught in a hermeneutically accurate, age specific, and practical fashion so that students can understand God’s truth and apply it to their lives immediately! And of course we will be playing lots of games to foster a spirit of light-hearted fun to help alleviate students of the immense stress that comes with life during puberty.

The youth gatherings will be led by a team of devoted adult volunteers and the pastor of student ministries, Ashton Glod.

When do we Meet?

The students gather on Wednesdays from 6:30 pm – 8 pm for a time of games, worship, and teaching.

Additionally, there are periodic youth events on the weekends that will be posted on the church’s Facebook & Instagram page so you can plan to be there!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Redeemer.Ch

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/redeemer.ch/

University Students

Missional college ministry is unique. The last thing students in the university need is to be surrounded only by other students their ages or that share only their interests (academic or otherwise). Instead of keeping all the students together and isolating them from the rest of the church, we train and equip them to imbibe and embody the gospel by being fully integrated and active members of the church family. Students also serve the rest of the body through ministry teams. Our prayer is that they’ll go back to campus encouraged and excited by the gospel – whether they’re undergraduates who live on campus or graduate students who commute but are a presence in an academic department, we hope to equip them to find new ways and avenues to advance the gospel. We also pray that after they’ve graduated or moved on that they’ll have developed strong habits of deep involvement with church life.

Youth Leaders

Jamie Woods

Jamie started attending Redeemer in October 2019. Jamie has a passion for youth ministry because he firmly believes that young people are smart and have the ability to learn the great things about God. Jamie is married to Margaret and he is the father of 5 children and an adopted ankle-biting dog. He loves classic professional wrestling from the 70’s and 80’s – especially from the Southern territories.

Fun facts: He is not wanted by the law, he has a law degree and has been married to Margaret since 1996.  People often need to extend grace to him because of his affinity for wrestling. 

Sarah Smyser

Sarah grew up in a small town in the great state of Maryland. After coming to know Christ as her savior at the age of twelve, she became active in her church’s youth group, the Delmarva Chrysalis community, and children’s ministry. Redeemer became her church home upon moving to Michiana thirteen years ago. Sarah is passionate about sharing Biblical truths, not just Bible stories, to children of all ages.

Fun Facts: Her other passions include sports, movies, traveling, and her nephew and nieces.

Andrea Salzman

Andrea Salzman grew up in a Christ-following home, in rural New Hampshire. She moved to Michigan to work at Life Action Ministries where she met and married her husband, Scott. They have been married for 16 years and have four children who Andrea currently homeschools. Andrea has attended Redeemer for 16 years. Growing up, Andrea’s church youth group played a very influential part of her life. She has a passion to see the next generation rise up and walk in the ways of Christ, loving Him with all their heart and filled with a passion for knowing God and sharing Him with others. As a teenager, she spent several summers as a camp counselor and went on several mission trips to work with children living on the streets of Romania.

Fun Facts: Andrea loves to create, whether it is jewelry, scripture art, knitting, woodworking, baking, etc.

Rebecca VanDyk

Rebecca was born and raised in Michigan, spending the majority of her first 35 years in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo. Her family moved to Edwardsburg in January of 2017 after living for 2.5 years in Youngstown, Ohio. Redeemer was the first church they visited. They joined the Awana program and Women’s prayer group in February and the church in June of 2017. Rebecca has eagerly awaited the opportunity to be involved in youth ministry again. While a student at Calvin College, Rebecca was asked to help lead a middle school youth group at a local church. She fell in love with that age group, changed her major to education and devoted 12 years of her life to teaching middle school math and science at a Christian school…and she still loves middle schoolers! Rebecca has 4 children age 12, 8, 7, and 5. The VanDyks are homeschooling for the first time ever and it has been challenging but also good. Rebecca met her husband, Ben, when she switched from a public school to a Christian school at the age of 8, but they did not start dating until they graduated from Calvin College together. They have been married for 18 years.

Fun Facts: Rebecca loves music, drama and movement, and enjoys incorporating them into worshipping the living God.