After the Wednesday evening Campus Church service, students poured into the Crowne Centre lobby, excited to browse tables topped with presentation boards and promotional pieces. These tables were set up by Christian Service leaders who greeted interested students, answered questions, and shared how their group serves the community. Throughout the event, students walked around with friends and chose from over 40 diverse Christian Service Groups to begin serving in.
“Christian Services are our way as a college to reach out to the Pensacola area, to share the gospel, and to demonstrate Christ’s love.”
The Christian Service Expo invites students to learn about each group and find out how they can get involved. “Christian Services are our way as a college to reach out to the Pensacola area, share the gospel, and demonstrate Christ’s love,” said Matt Smith, the Student Ministry coordinator. “They provide that opportunity for students to get involved with ministry just like when they’re at home. They do vacation Bible school, help in Sunday school, work on a bus route, go door-to-door, or go to a nursing home—we provide those opportunities here. We just call it Christian Service.”
Making a Difference
Each week, Christian Service leaders dedicate time to organize, plan, and prepare for their groups. After all of the preparation, groups go out and share Jesus’ love and His saving message with the community—whether through word or deed. “At PCC, we provide an element of evangelism and discipleship,” said Mr. Smith. “And we have the Great Commission, given to the local church to evangelize and to teach. So, [Christian Service] gives these students an opportunity [to do that] while they’re in college.”
“At PCC, we provide an element of evangelism and discipleship. And we have the Great Commission, given to the local church to evangelize and to teach.”
All students are encouraged to participate, but especially for new students, serving can be a chance to mature spiritually and meet new people. Mary Griffith (Fr., PA) decided to join Deaf Outreach during the Expo and understands the need to get involved in a service group. “It’s really important because it gets people out of their comfort zone,” she said. “I get nervous talking to new people and getting out there. But this helps get you in a group with other people who are learning just like you to teach and do different things.”
Reaching the Community
Of the multiple Christian Service ministries, students can choose from a large variety that reach children, adults, senior citizens, those with special needs, or a support Christian Service ministry.
Lucas Whiteside (Sr., IL) is a co-leader for Harvesters Door-to-Door, an adult ministry group that focuses on evangelism and sharing God’s love through canvassing. “It is a good place to grow [my] leadership skills while being surrounded by other Christians,” he said. “[God] has taken shy, nervous people and caused them to be bold in witnessing. We have had many people saved through our Christian Service. It is all an example of what God can do through a few people that simply want to serve Him and accomplish His will.”
Zara Williams (Jr., MD) helps lead Homestead Retirement Village, where they reach those who are lonely and in need of love and kindness. “I really enjoy doing the nursing home ministry because I feel it makes an impact on the lives of the residents,” she said. “Many residents are often scared or feel like they have been forgotten about, but I find it important through the nursing home ministries to show the residents that God has not forgotten them, and neither have we.”
Andrew Stapleton (Sr., MI) co-leads Oak Tree Bible Club, a children’s ministries group, and has a heart for giving children a good biblical foundation. “For me, personally, it’s important being able to share the gospel with the kids,” Andrew shared. “We have several kids that are saved, so just being able to give them meat from Scripture and things they can apply to their lives shows Christ’s love for them.”
Growing in Grace
No matter what group a student joins, each one will have the chance to grow in their leadership, outreach, and social capabilities. “Everyone in the group is developing how to work with a team,” said Mr. Smith. “From people all over the United States or all over the world, with different backgrounds and ways of wanting to do things—you have to learn to work together.”
“Although I am coming to PCC for college, God has allowed me here for a purpose—I can be a witness for Him wherever He has placed me.”
Through Christian Service, students embrace the calling to reach others for Christ. Hannah Ward (So., MI), co-leader of His Image Bible Club, is thankful for how she’s grown in her group. “Christian Service has enriched my college experience in many ways,” she said. “It has allowed me to go out and witness to kids, take a break from studying, and remember that although I am coming to PCC for college, God has allowed me here for a purpose—I can be a witness for Him wherever He has placed me.”