College Reflections: Church

With the end of my college career approaching, I decided it would be fitting to write a series of posts reflecting on my years in college at John Brown University. During the next few days, I will be reflecting on different aspects of my time in college, namely School, Church, and Work. The final post in the series will contain some advice to those that are currently in college or will beginning that journey soon. Hope you enjoy!

Looking back over the past four years, probably one of the best decisions that I made while at John Brown University was to get involved in a local church. Not only have I made some great memories and met some incredible people, but I have matured a lot in my spiritual life as well. My college experience would have been much different had I not gotten plugged into the local church.

Before arriving in Siloam Springs, I made it one of my goals to find a church fast and start contributing. I found out that the son of the pastor of the church I attended in Fort Smith had a church in Siloam Springs called Harvard Avenue Baptist Church, so I decided to check it out. After several visits, I felt that it was the church that God was leading me to. Three things sold me on Harvard Avenue Baptist Church. First and foremost, Tad Thompson, the pastor at HABC, preaches the Bible unashamedly. I’ve grown a lot in my faith as a result of his faithful preaching of the Word each Sunday. Secondly, during the first few weeks of classes at JBU, HABC had a business meeting (which, if you want to learn a lot about a church, go to its business meetings) and at the end of the meeting reinstated a member that had been under church discipline. I had never been a part of a church that had done this before (at least not to my knowledge) and it was a powerful thing to see the members of the church gather around the individual, pray, and pledge to continue to walk with the individual and keep them accountable. At the second business meeting I attended several weeks later, the main agenda was to discuss and pass the budget. The meeting was going smoothly until the “Missions” line item came up. The church was proposing a new way to fund independent missionaries by putting together a sort of “adopt-a-missionary” program rather than the church support them directly. Several members were a little confused as to how it would work, and so for an hour and a half, we all discussed how to fund missionaries. While this may seem ridiculous to some, it showed me how much importance that HABC put on evangelism and missions throughout the world. The following week, I decided to join Harvard Avenue Baptist.

Since joining HABC, I’ve been blessed with many opportunities to both minister to others and be ministered too. One of my passions is investing in the lives of middle and high school students. So, after joining, one of my first steps was to get involved in the student ministry. The ministry with the students on Wednesdays, Sundays, trips, and during the week has been one of the highlights of my time at JBU. It has been truly awesome to see how God has worked in and through the students during the past four years. Having the opportunity to interact with students on a regular basis has also challenged me to know my stuff spiritually.

In addition to getting to invest in students, I’ve gotten to attend two conferences (Together for the Gospel & Passion), help out at VBS, sing in the Men’s Choir, meet some solid men and women, and have some deep conversations, all in the context of Biblical community. So, if you are in college and aren’t involved in a local church, I would highly recommend it. You will find it quickly becomes like your home away from home.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

Myself with Chad Mann (HABC Youth Pastor) and Wes Eaton (Fellow Intern)

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About Lawson Hembree
Lawson is an entrepreneur, ministry leader, and outdoors enthusiast who also enjoys blogging about business, ideas, and theology. Want to continue the discussion or write a guest post? Let's Connect!

2 Responses to College Reflections: Church

  1. Pingback: College Reflections: School « A Little Bit of Everything

  2. Pingback: College Reflections: Advice « A Little Bit of Everything

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