Monday, August 30, 2010

To All the College Students....

6 Years ago, I was one of you. My first Sunday. Walking through those doors for the first time. I was probably greeted by someone. My first observation was not one that I'm proud of. "Wow, there are some pretty people here. Very stylish." That was my first impression. I walked in the sanctuary with my best friend. The music was ROCKIN'! LOVED IT! And then this guy got up on the stage and began to preach. I don't remember what the sermon was about, but I remember thinking that this guy was intense. But I liked it.

That was my first Sunday at Living Hope. Yesterday, a couple hundred college students strolled back in the doors after being gone for the summer. Some of you for the first time. I thought about you all through the service. What was your impression today. I pray that it was deeper than my shallow observation six years ago. (However, I'm not even kidding, I had never seen so many pretty guys and girls at a church before. It definitely seemed like the "cool" church to be at.) What was God stirring in your heart. Would you ever be back. I prayed that you would. I prayed that you would fall in love with Jesus here and get plugged in and let us get to know you. Because I didn't do that as a college student.

I started going to LH with my best friend when I was a junior. I liked it. It was, like I said, cool. The music was powerful. The sermons were powerful and I knew that Butch was speaking truth. But they sure had a lot of requirements of their members. They even expected us "super busy" college students to go to this small group thing once a week. You know, get a free meal, get to know people, talk about the Lord, make some of the best friends you could ever have. I just didn't have time for that. I remember even talking about how it was ridiculous that they would expect that from us. And that they couldn't MAKE me go. So I went through my junior year just "going to church." Even though the leadership was very clear that just going to church at Living Hope wasn't allowed. I started dating Matt that year. We got engaged that following summer. We even took Purpose Driven Life that summer. And I don't think we even finished reading the book. We were both just doing enough to get by.

We got married the spring of 2006, the spring of my senior year. Matt was on a softball team with some guys from church. I remember one night after a game, this one guy named Charlie asked Matt if we were going to a hope group. (those small groups I was talking about).

Ashamedly, Matt stammered "No."

"Well we would love to have you visit ours," Charlie said.

I am so glad Charlie invited us. I'm sure we would have "gotten around to it" eventually. But this hope group started to mold and change us. We became close with our group. We began to realize the need for community. We began to serve and get plugged in. And this Charlie guy and his family, well, you can't help but love them. We loved them so much we had to move next door. We eventually had to move on to a new hope group, and they eventually went to a new church, New Life, but this family still has a special place in our hearts.

We plugged in to a new hope group and stayed there for 2 years. And now this family is like a second family to us. They love our children and oh how my kids love Mr. Don and Mrs. Kelli. And this is where we met these people that we love so much.

And now its time for us to start a new hope group. With a new family and new faces. I'm excited to grow close to a new group of people. We aren't replacing the old relationships, just adding to our community.

This wasn't supposed to be about hope group. But about how much of a blessing it is to serve and get plugged in. We are serving willingly in ministries. And excited about the new semester now that all of you college students are back. A few years ago, not so much.

So this is my plea to you.

Get plugged in. Once you know that this is where the Lord is calling you, jump in full steam. You'll be so blessed it will knock your socks off. Do I think that Living Hope is the only church in town where you can get saved and grow closer to the Lord? Absolutely not! But I know that I love that place. The people. The gospel that is preached. This church isn't about hope groups or ministries or taking classes. Its about the gospel of Jesus Christ. About Salvation. These other things are just wonderful things that God uses to speak to us and use us to further his kingdom.

I know that half of you that showed up yesterday won't be back. Butch knows that and even said it in the service. But I am ready to meet and get to know the other half of you that plan on sticking around!


  1. um, that made me tear up. :)

    what a powerful post and what great truth. thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Yes! That was an amazing post and so true.

    College Students, I am that roommate Larra mentioned and I am in full agreement with her. Get plugged in. I didn't in college. I just went to church but I did not find community. I wish I had and it is my fault I didn't because Living Hope makes it very easy to get plugged in. You will be blessed. You will grow. You will change. I am happy to tell you that I have found that at my new church home in Houston and now I know what I truly MISSED out on in college and how I wish I did things differently. Learn from people that have gone before you and do not repeat their mistakes. We share them with you so you do not have to wish "Oh I wish I had done that back then" like we do.

  3. We are oh, so glad that you accepted Charlie's invitation! What special friends and neighbors you quickly became. We love you.

    Aren't we supposed to be hanging out this week?


Thanks for leaving us a note! We love hearing from you!