A few Christian young adults in and around Grand Rapids, Mich., were looking for community with other emerging adults in a similar stage of life. They wanted to be rooted in God’s Word and to grow together. Calling their group “Rooted,” they were helped by Christian Reformed pastor Cory Nederveld to create a collective that has increased from just a handful of members to about 20 in the last year-and-a-half.
Nederveld, pastor of First CRC in Grand Haven, Mich., formerly a youth pastor at Cottonwood Church in Jenison, Mich., knew many of the first participants through one of those congregations. Along with their invited friends, they began meeting in early 2017 for worship, teaching, and study. Those first gatherings were on Thursday mornings in a funeral home. "If you are going to talk about things with eternal consequence, what better place than a funeral home?" said Nederveld.
At the beginning of this fall semester, Rooted moved from the funeral home to a larger space inside a renovated church building in Allendale, Mich. To accommodate college students, Rooted began a carpool along the East Beltline in Grand Rapids; to include members who do not attend college, they switched their meeting time to Thursday evenings. “The Lord has blessed me so richly through this community, and I am so thankful that he knew exactly where I needed to be,” said Mikaela Deur, a teacher and Rooted participant.
While the young people are taking responsibility for the group—it was their effort in inviting others that has seen the group grow—a few mature adults are contributing to equip these younger Christians. Nederveld, in his 30s, is joined by some middle-aged volunteers and a few parents, including Mike and Lisa Matthysse of Matthysse Kuiper DeGraaf Funeral Homes. Trained participants then facilitate discussion over Scripture and lead various aspects of the Thursday night meetings such as worship, prayer, or coordinating speakers and events.
"It has been a beautiful thing to see this next generation—which often doesn't get the credit it deserves—own their faith, seek community, and dive deeply into God's Word. Our goal is to see them rooted in the Word, discover their gifts, and affect kingdom change on their campuses and in their communities,” said Nederveld.
Funding for Rooted—including expenses such as study materials, food for meetings, and a recent part-time hire—comes primarily from an Emerging Ministry Grant from Classis Muskegon, the regional group of churches. Individual contributions have also come from members of First CRC of Grand Haven, and from other churches.