“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”- Proverbs 27:17
“…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of one another and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25
Statesboro is a city whose largest demographic is young men and women between the ages of 18-32. The majority of those in this age bracket live in incredibly close proximity to one another on the college campus of GSU. GSU has been ranked as one of the top ranked schools in the nation and draws students from all over the United States. The life of Statesboro, though not entirely dependent upon the universities existence, is greatly shaped by it when you consider that 1 in three people who live in Statesboro are students on the campus.
I recently made a visit and spent the day on the campus of GSU to hang out with some students and interview them to better understand their thoughts and views regarding Jesus, Church and spirituality. The the answers and responses I received we interesting and extremely colorful. Very few people have any objects to Jesus, only the exclusive claims that Jesus made. Many professed to believe that Jesus was God, but also acknowledged themselves, Buddha & others as God. Many of the students we talked to who had an “open god rolodex” professed to be Christians who at one point attended church but no longer feel the need to be a part of one today. In short, students on campus are not opposed to Jesus as others deities are given equal claim to God, and no one really feels church involvement is really necessary.
The city of Statesboro and the campus of GSU are in no ways different that the rest of the campuses across our country. The result is that many churches have simply decided that if college students will not come to us, then we will send somebody else to them. This gave birth to many para-church campus ministries like Campus Crusade for Christ, Baptist Student Mission, Chi Alpha. Are para-church ministries bad? No. I have many friends working in these organization and even support some of them. However, though they are part of the global church, they exist apart from the local church. I firmly believe that all ministry should flow out of the local church (allow comments to ensue). As a matter of fact, many of the para-church leaders that i have spoken to have either joined up with their organization or started it simply because they agree that the local church should have a presence everywhere (like the campus) but could not convicene their pastors or leaders to make the investment of time, relationship and finance to these areas. This led many of them to do ministry apart from the church.
Since City on a Hill started we have been drawing a rather young crowd. I wound venture to say that the majority of people who call City on a Hill home are under the age of 32. I must admit that this is very surprising to me as most young people do not like waking up early, being preached at (with us it tends to be upwards of 40 minutes), have any obligation of help (we meet in a gym that has to be retrofitted every Sunday morning), and prefer good indie music (we are indie, we just lack the good). Whats the deal then? Why do the majority of people who call City on a Hill their church keep coming back? I believe it is because they hear the gospel and it wets their appetite for more of Jesus. Once they truly understand the good news, these young people turn from being mindless consumers and mature into gospel proclaimers who desire to share the good news with others.
Right around the same time we were praying and considering what our campus presence would look like students began coming to us expressing their desire to have a community group on campus. We were excited to hear this as this was what we felt we were being led towards ourselves. Community is one of the things we greatly value at City on a Hill and we believe it is not just a way to keep people connected to one another but to grow and mature in our understand and practice of the gospel.
This Thursday night City on a Hill will be starting a new community group on the campus of GSU. The group is called Eagle City and will be meeting from 7:00 – 8:30 PM in the Student Union Building. Alan Ballard is the man running point on this group and you can find all of his contact information at the bottom of this page.
What can you expect when you attend Eagle City? You can expect to find other students like yourself and a few senior high school students who are considering being a part of GSU and Eagle City next semester. There will be food and drinks so come hungry. You will also want to bring your bible if you have one. If you don’t, let us know and we would be more than happy to provide a nice bible for you. If you have any questions please email Alan Ballard.
We hope we get the opportunity to see you this Thursday. Until then, be sure to check out the City on a Hill website at http://www.withinthecity.com.
Alan Ballard Contact Info