Because we love and value building meaningful relationships with our church family, we recently rolled out two new ways for you to get more involved at our office: Internships. You might be wondering, “Which internship is right for me?” or “Do I know someone who would be a good intern?”
USC students return to campus this week and Saturday kicks off Midtown College’s Best First Week Ever. College Staff members, Cole Simpson and Garrison Weiner, let us in on why they hope our college students will participate in the Freshman 15 and how we as a church family, can be praying for our college leaders and USC students…
Both Cole and Garrison originally connected with Midtown family during their first weeks as college freshmen at USC. Cole attended a Best First Week Ever event where two older college guys invited him to join their LifeGroup. While it was several months before he attended a Gathering, Cole participated in LifeGroup every week, growing in relationships and understanding of what it meant to be Jesus-centered family on mission. Garrison came to college as a very new believer and recalls that his plan had been to party and join a fraternity but instead, almost immediately met a group of Christian guys who welcomed him in. Through these guys inviting him into their lives, Garrison realized he no longer needed to search for friends elsewhere because he’d met his people.
Now adults and serving in staff roles with our church, Cole and Garrison have a desire to meet and connect with college students over the first fifteen days of the school year because they know personally how it can change the trajectory of a student’s time in college and beyond. The two men have spent the last year raising up and equipping thirty two college leaders in our church who are ready to be sent out to their campus in hopes of welcoming in new students to our church family.
The college team has planned several events on campus that will make up what we like to call Best First Week Ever. Each event is designed around the goal of connecting with students and inviting them into Jesus-centered community in hopes that they can experience why Jesus is better than anything else. Our college leaders have been challenged to participate in the Freshman 15 and for the first 15 nights of the school year plan hangouts that they can invite new people into. The team is also prepared to launch 8 new freshmen LifeGroups within these first few weeks. For the second year in a row, we also have the opportunity to host on-campus college Gatherings (called First Five) for the first five weeks of the semester all leading up to our College Fall Retreat.
As a church family we want to join our college team in prayer during this vital time in their ministry. Below you’ll find a prayer guide for each day of the Freshman 15. We’d invite you to print this off or save it to your phone as we join our students and staff in asking God to use them in welcoming people into His family and showing them that He’s better than anything else.
Freshman Fifteen Prayer Guide
Pray for our college leaders as they assist with Move-in Day today on USC’s campus. Pray for the students and families that they will meet and serve.
Pray for the students that will come out tonight to Best First Week Ever’s Concert at Cool Beans and our college leaders as they welcome them in and begin to connect.
Pray for our college students to have boldness to invite people they’ve met to hang out and pray for the first evening of hangouts our students have planned.
Today is the first day of classes at USC. Pray for our continued favor on campus and for Midtown students to be used by God in their classes this semester.
Pray for our 8 new LifeGroups that will be forming and the leaders who are prayerfully seeking people to invite into them. Pray specifically that non-believers will join and through it, come to know God’s love for them.
Pray for tonight’s hangouts and for our students to be in tune with if there are people they’ve met who they should invite to tomorrow’s Gathering. Pray for new students who may attend a Gathering for the first time. (This would be an extra great Sunday for many of us to arrive 15 minutes early to in hopes that God might use us to connect with new students)
Pray for our Block Party after the 11:15 Gathering. Pray that new students would stick around, connect, and get a glimpse of what we are all about. (All of church family is invited to this event! There will be food trucks and more opportunities to create margin around our Gathering time)
Pray for students that will come out tonight for Best First Week Ever’s Music at the Russell. Pray for conversations that will be had and relationships that are forming.
Pray for our new Freshmen LifeGroup Leaders as they are continuing to invite in and put on display what it means to be Jesus-centered family on mission.
Pray for tomorrow night’s on-campus college Gathering (“First Five”) Pray for new students to attend and that believers and non-believers alike will feel welcomed.
Pray for our leaders as they follow up with students who attended First Five. Pray for tonight’s hangouts and for our leaders to continue to have energy and not grow weary.
Pray for continued conversations between new students and our college leaders. Pray for relationships to be formed.
Pray for today’s gathering and specifically for college students who may attend for the very first time.
Pray for college leadership as they continue ministry throughout the year. Pray specifically pray for the next four weeks of “First Five” that will lead up to College Fall Retreat.
Adam Gibson, the author of this post, serves as one of our vision team pastors along with Allen Tipping, and is one of our primary teaching pastors. To find out more about our leadership, visit our
I loved college. I loved it so much that I stayed for a fifth year of it. I love college students and having so many of you in our church family. God changed my life while I was in college. I didn’t know who I was going to be or what my life would be about and God blew me up, primarily through putting me around a group of guys who were normal guys with an abnormal love for Jesus. I had never seen guys my age who were regular guys but really loved Jesus and wanted to follow him and see others follow him. God used it to change my life, call me to ministry; eventually through those relationships I met my wife…all during my time in college.
Why You Matter
Then when we were starting our church, we were primarily made up of college students. Students who faithfully served and ministered and helped us get going as a church. Students who were just crazy enough to believe in a vision to see a church become a Jesus-centered family on mission in Columbia. We absolutely would not be the church we are today apart from the amazing, godly, Jesus loving college students that God has brought our way through the years, including you who are here now.
With a new school year approaching, I want to encourage you to own your time in college, particularly how God might work in you and through you during your time in Columbia. I genuinely believe that our church is set up in way that, if we can get four years of your life, upon your graduation you will be sent out with the tools you need for a lifetime of following Jesus wherever you go. So take advantage of it!
Getting the Most out of College
I believe there are several practicals that will help you to get the absolute most out of your time in college:
- Get into a LifeGroup. Work to cultivate those relationships into deep, Jesus-oriented friendships.
- Serve. Pick a way to serve and give back to church family, and don’t just take. Make our church your family, not just a place you go on Sunday. Use the gifts and talents God has given you…we need you! And, you will grow through serving and giving even more than you will through simply consuming what others are doing for you.
- Pursue outsiders. Be intentional in building relationships with your friends who are not believers and invite them around our church family. Start the year by taking advantage of the First Week events going on and by bringing people with you. Pray that God would run them down just like he ran me down when I was in college!
Overall, own your time here–don't just drift.
I’m glad that summer is coming to a close. Our church isn’t fully “us” when you guys are gone. If the church really is like a family, then I’m looking forward to you being back home, with us. See you soon!
Last weekend, we took 125 students to the mountains of Brevard, NC for College Fall Retreat. Students learned about dating and relationships, worshiped together, hung out in the mountains, and even got to watch the Carolina-LSU game on Saturday night. Here are some photos from the weekend.