After months of prayerful discernment and discussion with our leaders at First Presbyterian Church and the student leaders who serve Emmaus, we believe God is challenging us to a courageous change: to move our weekly gathering to campus.
The significant factors that led to moving to Wake are these:
- We want to reach students. We use a buzzword around church these days: missional. This word captures a vision to embody what God himself did in coming to humanity to reach us. In following His lead we want to move toward vibrant hubs of student life and be accessible right on campus. God has sent us into the world and we do not want to expect students to “come to us” any longer.
- We chose Wake because they have a newly renovated room (see below) that is easy to find, near parking for off-campus friends . This resolves some of the carpooling issues of getting “left behind”. Wake has also been our main source of student involvement from the earliest days of Emmaus and has that traditional large campus feel for students wanting a large library, a coffee shop, or a large grassy quad to throw frisbee. While we love the uniqueness of each campus, we believe this will best open the door for new invitations and relationships.
- We will still offer a carpool from Salem College and believe that the time together in the church van will be a fun one to get to know one another on the short trips to and from campus.
- If you are a student in the other campuses of this great city…or are college-aged…you are still welcome!! We just want to make sure you know where to find us.
- We want to create sacred space. In our space at First Pres, we worked hard to set up prayer rooms, adjust the stage and lighting to foster an ambiance of intentionality to space and worship. The availability of the newly renovated and intimate chapel, known as “Davis Chapel” makes this an ideal space to maintain this core value. When you arrive in the room, you’ll have an atmosphere of spiritual symbolism and an openness to sit, stand, sing, share and absorb God’s spoken word. It will feel like “church”…but we hope it will also feel like “home.”
- We want to celebrate the Church. First Presbyterian Church is our sending church but we realize that many of you attend different worshiping communities. As God will use the global Church to bring his Kingdom to this earth (Matthew 28:18-20), we will lift up the role of the Church (at FPC and others) and make sure that our students are plugging into a local congregation. As such you will continue to see members from FPC offer their time to serve, teach, bake goodies, open their homes and hearts to invite you into that greater sense of community. As the college ministry of First Presbyterian Church, we are grateful for the ongoing support and partnership that fuels our vision to reach and love college students in this city.
The change will understandably disrupt some of the things we have become accustomed to such as campus neutrality, resources (technological and room) and an accessible downtown location. I am writing this post to address potential concerns and also inspire you to joyfully embrace the coming change.
Emmaus College Ministry is and will always be about inviting students to experience “real life in Jesus Christ”. While our gathering location changes, our heart does not. We want each of you to feel more in touch with this lifelong invitation from God and together we will discover the nuances of this call. Our new adventure awaits…and we trust you will join us.
If you want to talk more about the big move or just need a friend to chat with, let us know!