The Sunday before Missouri State University resumes classes in the fall, the MSU Pride Band has a busy day. They've just moved in, wrapped up their weeklong band camp, play the New Student Convocation, and perform their annual Concert-on-the-Green. They also are getting ready for classes to start the next day; for many of them, these will be their first classes as a Bear.
Even though they are exhausted and have a lot on their plates, they take the time to come to University Heights Baptist Church that Sunday morning to play in our service and experience a time of worship with us. After the service, we make sure to feed them well.
It has been my privilege to plan Feed the Band for the past five years. I've enjoyed watching the students get to know each other better as they sit around tables and eat the last big meal they'll have before the semester starts. I love seeing our church family pour drinks, hand out cookies, and make the students feel at home.
I'm glad our church family rallies around college students. When students come to our church and are looking for ways to connect, people within our church adopt them as long-lost grandchildren. Our people take students out to dinner and provide home cooked meals; they open their homes up for a free place to do laundry and a quiet place to study; when a student misses church, they check on them to make sure they're okay. Our church loves college students.
This semester we are changing the way we do college Bible study. Instead of the normal 9:15am start time on Sunday mornings, we are going to meet in the Heights after the worship service and provide lunch, then dive into a study of the major themes of the Bible. Andrew Hickman, who runs our tech booth and is a graduate student at Evangel, is excited to lead the study.
Be in prayer for the students. Pray that they will find a place to belong and that they will realize God's calling on their life.
Dr. Chisholm shared this during the Wednesday night Bible study on August 2, 2017. Below is compiled from his PowerPoint presentation.
The Mindset List: Class of 2017 | Created by Beloit College as a reminder to faculty to avoid dated references when teaching the students. It has become an internationally monitored catalog of the changing worldview of each generation. Most of the students graduating this year were born in 1995.
A look back . . .
1950—the credit card
1955—TV remote control, microwave oven, polio vaccine
1959—1st copy machine
1960—1st heart pacemaker
1962—communications satellite, video games
1967—1st coronary bypass surgery
1969—ATMs “"On Sept. 2, our bank will open at 9:00 and never close again!" —Long Island branch of Chemical Bank, advertisement from 1969
1973—Magnetic Resonance Imaging
1982—1st laptop invented
1989—World Wide Web
More likely to have borrowed $ than their Boomer parents;
their parents foresee 4 years, students pretty sure it will take longer;
many students will take courses taught at a distant university by a professor they will never meet.
The use of smart phones in class may indicate they are reading the assignment they should have read, or they are recording every minute of the lecture. . . Or they are texting the person next to them.
If they admire Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, they may question the value of a college degree in the first place.
Though they’ve never had chicken pox, they are glad to have access to health insurance for a few more years.
By the time they hit their 30s, 4/10 voters will be their generation.
Whatever employers think of them, politicians will pay them close attention
For this generation of entering college students, born in 1995, Dean Martin, Mickey Mantle, and Jerry Garcia have always been dead
Their TV screens get smaller while their parents’ screens grow larger;
they are the sharing generation, having tendencies to share everything, including possessions, no matter how personal;
rights of passage are more to do with having their own cell phone than a driver’s license and car
GM means food that is Genetically Modified
As they started to crawl, so did the news across the bottom of the screen
As their parents held them as infants, they wondered whether it was the baby or Windows 95 that had them more excited
Having a chat seldom involved talking
Gaga has never been baby talk
They could always get rid of their outdated toys on Ebay
They have only known 2 presidents
A tablet is no longer something you take in the morning
Captain Janeway has always taken the USS Voyager where no woman or man has gone before
Spray paint has never been sold legally in Chicago
Courts always been ordering computer network wiretaps
Thanks to Amber alerts, parents have always had community support in keeping children safe
With GPS, they’ve never needed directions
Java has never been just a cup of coffee
Americans and Russians have always cooperated better in orbit than on earth
Their parents have always grieved the passing of Calvin and Hobbes
In their 1st 18 years, they have witnessed the rise and fall of Tiger Woods
The U.S. has always had sanctions against Iran
They have never attended a concert in a smoke-filled arena
As they slept in their cribs, the OKC bomber and Unibomber were doing their deadly work
Don Shula has always been a fine steak house
They’ve never really needed to go to a friend’s house to study together
They’ve always been able to plug into USB ports
Washington DC tour buses have never been able to drive in front of the White House
Their parent’s CD player is so ancient and embarrassing
A Wiki has always been a cooperative web application rather than a shuttle bus in Hawaii
Millennials are looking for people to be real and honest about struggles and temptations
Millennials are seeking authenticity—they have been marketed their whole life and sense when something is fake
“We can find God elsewhere.” (39%)
“It’s not personally relevant.” (35%)
“Church is boring.” (31%)
“It feels like God is missing from church.” (20%)
“The church is out of date.” (8%)
•Attend church to be closer to God (44%)
•Go to learn more about God (37)
Getting outside the humdrum of their every day lives to experience transcendence—worship, prayer, teaching—is a strong desire.
A church is “a place to find answers to live meaningful life.” (65)
"Church is relevant for my life." (54)
"I can be myself at church." (49)
•Millennials are skeptical about the role churches play in society, but their hope is what role the church could play.
Information willing to share
First name only (82%) Last name also (53)
Phone number (12) Email address (33) Physical address (19)
Millennials are the least likely generation to say the church has their best interests at heart (1/3); this is one reason they want to stay ‘off the radar’ until they are comfortable at church
The worship experience begins at the door. Millennials want to know where things are without asking—especially if its their first time at church
Millennials are leaving church in large numbers: 70% raised in church leave in their 20s; 1/3 of those under 30 in US have “no religion”.
Deeper Complaints about the church
More than 1/3 say negative perceptions are a result of moral failures in the church leadership. And substantial majorities of millennials who don’t go to church say they see Christians as judgmental (87), hypocritical (85), anti-homosexual (91) and insensitive to others
The church doesn’t care about the environment, justice issues, or service to the community (church is just ‘going to a building for an hour)
Christianity is aggressive and critical
A Few Final Thoughts
•One on one relationships (not just a number); relationships are more important than programs or style
•Church should model community: love God and love others
•Intergenerational relationships (those who have an older mentor from faith community 59% more likely to stay in church than those who don’t)
•Millennials want a ‘seat at the table’ involved in ministry
“How do we get them to come?” Is the wrong question.
Modern Era Questions (1517-200)
What does regular and consistent church attendance look like?
How can we reach the younger people in our community?
What worship style do we need in order to grow as a church?
Why won’t more people give to the operating budget?
How can we get more people to volunteer?
Post Modern Questions (2000--)
What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus now?
How seriously are we willing to engage in Jesus’ teaching?
When Jesus-followers come together, what do they do?
What kind of sacred partnerships do we need in this faith community to support and challenge us to live as disciples?
They want life to have meaning with Christ-centered community.
They can be encouraged to return to church as we understand generational differences and what is meaningful to this demographic—not as a group of people but as individuals; not as a person who warms a pew, but a person who warms a heart through real relationship.
University Hope, the ministry to rescue people from payday and title loans, is expanding. The new addition to the work is called: “University Hope – TelComm Credit Union.”
For two years University Heights Baptist Church has led a program to get people out of the predatory loan trap. This has been accomplished by providing donated funds as security to the credit union to guarantee payment of low-interest loans made through the Educational Community Credit Union. To date, about $45,000 has been contributed to the work, and 42 families have been served.
In the process of helping people escape from payday loans, it became apparent the Springfield area needed more options to assist those with needs BEFORE they turned to exploitative payday and title loans.
The expanded program to address the financial issues leading up to payday and title loans has launched in cooperation with TelComm Credit Union as of June 28, 2017. TelComm CU/University Hope are providing loans at a lower interest rate than those of predatory lenders which may charge 300% - 400% interest. University Hope will assist persons who have a particularly urgent need such as an urgent medical expense, car repair or other essential costs with a loan ranging from $500 to $750 depending on the need as determined by University Hope volunteers. Recipients of these low-interest loans will also be assigned a friend/mentor to stay in contact with them on a regular basis as a support system and partner moving forward. Recipients will also be offered free budgeting and financial management classes.
Persons in need of this low-interest loan assistance to avoid turning to payday and title loans should email email@example.com or contact the office of University Heights Baptist Church at 417-862-0789 during business hours and ask for a University Hope representative.
We look forward to working together with TelComm Credit Union as we expand our University Hope ministry.
School's out for summer, Memorial Day weekend plans are being made, and I am excited for church-wide summer events coming in June and July. Keeping in the theme of fun and togetherness, both of our summer children’s events will be promoted as church-wide fellowship nights! Meaning, get your Sunday School class together and bring a lawnchair for our Drive-in Movie Summer at UHBC.
Movie Under the Stars Events:
Friday, June 30th at 7:30pm “Zootopia”
Preview: Noah’s Ark Mini-Melodrama
Kids! Bring your cardboard car or “animal cage” to park on the lot as we watch
Friday, July 28th at 7:30pm “Moana”
Preview: Moses and the Burning Bush Mini-Melodrama
Kids! Bring your cardboard surfboard to “float” on in the parking lot as we watch
For both events we will have snow cones, popcorn, face painters for the kids or for the inner-kid in you, AND interactive previews. Our youth group will be performing the mini-melodrama previews and will pull children from the audience to become apart of the story-telling. By bringing our church family together, we can enjoy one another through these events and embrace the inner-child in all of us.
Be on the lookout for Movie Under the Stars fliers around the church and see me for mini-flier handouts to give out to friends and neighbors throughout the summer. We will also be advertising on the corner of National and Grand ALL summer AND promotion through the Rountree Neighborhood Association. Looking forward to how the Lord will bring us together for these events and how His name can be known through the lives we invite and encounter from these events.
We’re entering the season of graduations. Whether kindergartener or high schooler, undergrad or graduate, each student has grown and changed.
But how have they been shaped?
Maybe by their parent’s expectations and experiences with friends, teammates, and coworkers; maybe by the consequences of their own choices. A teacher, coach, boyfriend or girlfriend may have played a role in how they’ve been shaped.
These graduates aren’t the same as when they started. They’ve grown, shifted, changed.
They’re bigger, brighter, stronger; delicate, fearful, hopeful.
So how have they been shaped? The prophet Isaiah said, “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
Job during his suffering said to God, “You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.” (Job 10:12)
Those graduating have had many forces shaping their lives, some good and others bad, but they will continue to be shaped. It is our responsibility to point them to the life-shaping power of the Gospel of Jesus, which grants life and love.
Encourage them as they begin their next stage of life and point them towards the hope found in Jesus, and inspire them to shape others.
Spring has sprung and even with the ever-changing weather one thing remains the same, we have hope eternal in Jesus Christ and the Easter Egg Hunt is on it’s way! Mark your calendars folks: Saturday, April 15th at 10am we will have over 200 hunters and their families participating in fun, excitement, and activities across our parking lot. Please be in prayer for how this event will touch the lives of our community and bring families closer to Christ.
Be on the lookout for Easter Egg Hunt fliers in your Sunday School folder on how you can help with this event: donating pre-packaged candy, baking a cake, pie, or cookies for the cake walk, or volunteering at a station. This is one of the biggest events we have for the community so your prayers, support, and dedication are needed and appreciated in making this event a success.
With chocolate covered eggs, cute bunnies, and jellybeans that make children and even some adults excited, it is easy to miss the importance of this holiday. We serve a risen Savior and whenever I get busy with planning or organizing for our Easter Egg Hunt, I begin humming a familiar hymn:
“ I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today,
I know that He is living whatever men may say.
I see His hands of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.
He Lives, He lives, Christ Jesus Lives today,
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.”
May we always remember that we serve a RISEN Savior and that our actions reflect that He lives within our heart
Because of Christ,
Our church has the pleasure of being in the Rountree neighborhood and sitting a stone’s throw from Rountree Elementary. UHBC has volunteered with the school for years (probably longer than I’ve been alive) and continues to look for ways to be good neighbors.
I get to partner with them by taking on chauffer duties for the fifth graders once a month. I take a small group of students and an administrator to Missouri State where they give the Rountree News Update on KSMU.
Rountree fifth graders have been partnering with KSMU on the News Update for around 20 years. The students write their news pieces about events happening at the school then record them with the help of the wonderful staff at the radio station. They learn that it’s ok to make mistakes and see how a rough audio recording is edited into a polished package that airs several times during the month.
Over the past four years I have gotten to see many fifth graders hearing their recorded voices for the first time. Most can’t believe how they sound and even a few have put their hands over their ears, though they quickly remove them when they hear their classmates’ voices.
It has been fun to be involved in just a small part of the life of our neighborhood students. I strive to set a Christ-like example in the 45 minutes that I’m around them and hope, if nothing else, that they see UHBC as a good neighbor.