Two students are temporarily leading University Church of Christ’s college ministry until a permanent replacement can be found.
Ben Fike, UCC’s previous college minister, now works as senior pastor at Meadowbrook Church of Christ in Jackson, Mississippi.
Rachel Hurst, junior biology pre-med major from Midlothian, and Kyle Bowen, biblical text major from Grass Valley, California, will continue to head up UCC’s college ministry until another minister is found. They are working together to keep the UCC college ministry one that is tightly knit.
“Honestly, why I got involved is mostly because of our community” Bowen said. “There is a deep sense that everyone here knows each other well and they’re all working together to get each other closer to God.”
The group started small, and Bowen plans to keep it that way.
“We aren’t a huge group – maybe 20-25 on Sunday mornings – and so we’re really able to connect with each other and be involved in each other’s lives,” Bowen said. “You feel this deep connection with these people.”
While keeping the ministry intimate, Bowen and Hurst also hope to keep the ministry authentic.
“I really want us to be known for having raw, deep and real relationships with one another in our groups,” Hurst said. “It’s not really a place where you come to kind of put in your facetime with God and see everyone in their pretty dresses and get your spiritual fix for the week and then move on with your life.”
Hurst wants to focus on keeping the ministry a place where students can be a part of something special.
“This is more of a group where we are investing in one another’s lives,” Hurst said. “We know each other really well and we’ll be there for each other throughout the good times and the bad constantly helping each other to pursue God. It’s a safe place.”
Despite their efforts, though, Bowen and Hurst are working against UCC’s stereotype.
“The view of UCC is that we’re the ‘old conservative people on campus’ and our campus group is totally different than that,” Bowen said. “We’re very open to everyone. We aren’t judge-y. We aren’t just like ‘Church of Christ is the one true church.'”
The ministry, called The Dwelling Place, meets on Sunday nights at 7 p.m.
UCC provides free dinner every Wednesday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. provided by members of the church. After dinner, students can join the college ministry at 7 p.m. as men and women separate for fellowship in homes.