As I have shared with you, throughout this year we will share spot-lights on the primary ministries going on at First Church. The hope is that we will be inspired by how a transformational difference is being made with your support and that these spot-lights will be reminders to be in prayer for these ministries. These are also ministries that are specifically helping us to experience Transformation In Christ, Changing Lives Inside and Out.
This week’s primary ministry spot-light focuses on some of the work that Aaron Russell is doing with college students. Aaron shares:
I truly feel lucky to be able to get a front row seat to what God is doing in the lives of college students. We are fortunate enough to have opportunities for larger group setting for Bible studies, messages, and group discussion as well as smaller groups of 3 or 4 and individual meetings with students! God has made his presence known in all of these settings.
There is a bible study on Penn College’s campus called “The Harbor” which meets on Tuesday nights. There are around 10 students that regularly attend. Over on Lycoming College’s campus on Wednesday evenings is a group called Play by Faith which hosts anywhere from 20-30 students each week. This year we focused on spiritual disciplines or habits, that help us encounter the grace of Jesus in our lives.
There are also 3 smaller groups of 3 or 4 students that meet for a more personal, deep opportunity for growth and accountability. These are called DNA groups, which stands for Discover, Nurture, and Act. Overall I have touch points with 60-70 students each week.
One of my favorite moments of transformation involves a Lycoming student involved with our Play By Faith ministry. She originally joined us on Wednesday nights because she was invited by some friends. She became a regular even though she was very open an honest about her doubts about Christianity. In fact, she would have called herself an atheist. Regardless, she was faithful to attend and was exposed to Gospel teaching and discussion, while asking great questions and wrestling with some big ideas. Our leadership team and students stepped up to meet her where she was, never judged, never made her feel like an outcast, and just loved her just as she was. Along with campus ministries, she also got connected to First Church! Some women at our church got to know her well and they had many coffee meetings. She was invited into homes, and shown the love of the heavenly Father! After wrestling with some of her doubts and questions, and having folks to discuss them with, she has expressed that she is no longer an atheist and she now believes in God! While she is still exploring her faith, it is easy to see how Jesus is slowly drawing this girl back to Himself, and we are thrilled to be apart of it! Please continue to pray for this student, and others as they continue to seek Jesus.
Please be in prayer for Aaron, this student, and all the students that Aaron works with.