I want to tell you about a Providence Will initiative involving our college students this summer—first, because I want you to know about it; second, because I want you to pray for it; and third, because I want you to support it.

Beginning June 1, Caitie Jackson will provide leadership for our ministry to college students who are home for the summer. She currently serves as our Music Ministry Associate. This part of her role at Providence will not change.  Caitie previously served as Baptist Campus Minister at the University of Richmond.  Ministry to college students is where Caitie’s gifts are, where her calling is, where her training is, where her passion is, and where her experience is.

During the school year, Caitie serves the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina (CBFNC) as the Charlotte-area coordinator and campus minister in a new Cooperative Baptist Student Fellowship (CBSF) chapter that began in the fall of 2018. Her work with CBFNC during this past school year has already started to bear good fruit. Which brings us to this upcoming summer at Providence.  We are blessed to have Caitie here and want to put her gifts to good use.  We’d be foolish not to. 

One of our Providence Will strategic priorities is Making Disciples.  Another is Sending Apostles.  Ministry to our college students invests in both of these priorities.  These students are at a transitional moment in their faith development, as old certainties from childhood are challenged and new ideas about truth, authority, and purpose are introduced.  They need encouragement.  They need support.  They need a safe, nurturing church home where they can talk with other Christians about their faith and what it means to follow Jesus in the face of today’s challenges in their daily lives. Our hope is to aid them in their walk and help them define what it means to be a strong disciple.

Another priority is Sending Apostles from Providence out into the world.  Students spend a significant portion of their college years on the go, out in the world, and among non-believers, both in this country and abroad.  They have the unique opportunity to be the Church to the world around them. Equipping them to be confident, faithful Christians who can share about Jesus and serve gracefully in his name means that, when our students do go out in the world for work and study, they will be prepared to share good news as opportunities arise. 

The College Summer Program is a Providence Will initiative.  As such, it will be supported by money from the Providence Will designated fund, which exists for the purpose of funding start-up projects that further our strategic priorities, but are not included in our annual Financial Plan for Missions and Ministry.  The Coordinating Council is responsible for releasing these funds and has agreed to do so.  This summer ministry initiative will run through August 10, as students return to campus.  In September, Caitie, Blake Kendrick, and I will evaluate this summer’s work and decide what our best next steps should be.

Are you interested and willing to help?  Want to spend time with our students?  Willing to open your home for a college fellowship event?  Interested in hosting a college Bible study?  Curious about how you can encourage our students after they go back to school in the fall?  Please reach out to Caitie.  She not only wants to help our college students grow in their faith, leadership, and community—she also wants to help this church grow in its ability to support college students well.  I am confident that our students
will become stronger in their faith this summer.  God willing, by summer’s end, we will be a stronger church as well.

May the peace of Christ be with you!