By: Nissa Rudd
I have been at Redeemer for 20 years. When I stepped into that Tae Kwon Do studio as a 9-year-old girl and my mom told me I could walk around but not to dare play with the punching bag, I had no idea that one day I would be a 30-year-old woman at that same church telling my child NOT to play in the sanctuary.
Through The Eyes Of A Child
God used Redeemer to introduce me, as a child, to the joy to be found in reading and exploring His word, and this has shaped my life from then until now. My family visited a lot of churches when we made the move to Raleigh, and walking into new Sunday School classes always made me nervous.
I was nervous when I walked in to my first Sunday School class at Redeemer, and I honestly don't remember what the lesson was about. But I do remember something that the teacher said that has stuck with me for 20 years. Gary Slavens was teaching. He was talking about the Bible, and he was so excited, and his eyes were lit up. And he said that every time you read the Bible, you find something new. That if you had a highlighter and you highlighted a passage that spoke to you, eventually your Bible would be filled with different colors. That idea that the Bible was something to explore and enjoy was exciting to me.
That to me is how Redeemer began, and it's how it is today. We study the Bible together because the Biblical truths are life changing and exciting and real.
Growing Up At Redeemer
I grew up in this church. Which means that some of these deacons and elders who are still serving today watched me struggle through my extremely awkward middle and high school years. But the leadership and teachers took the time to talk to me and showed an interest in my life and helped me along the way. Terry Traylor was the heart of Redeemer through those early years, and I miss him so often. He was interesting because on Sunday mornings he gave these dense sermons with extremely detailed outlines, and to me he struck me as a kind of overwhelming, intimidating figure on the pulpit. Remember I was 9. But then in person he was incredibly approachable and warm. He treated me like I was important and worth something. He told me he understood the plight of the middle child and he was there if I ever wanted someone who would listen. I saw his passion for God's word every Sunday morning, and I saw it play out in how he loved each person in his flock, even the shy and sullen-looking middle schoolers. God used Redeemer to help guide a shy, awkward child into adulthood.
The Shape Of The Church
The little things change, but the core is the same. It's the same Redeemer now that it was when I was 9, and I'm so excited that my children can grow up in this church, as well. God used Redeemer to shape me into a woman who still loves to read His word and always finds new things to highlight.