Uncommon hospitality driven by uncommon love

The first time I met Dave, a few students and I were giving out free doughnuts and offering to pray with and for people at Delaware County Community College. He stopped for a doughnut, but when he saw that we were offering to pray for people, he got angry.

“Look, we don’t have to pray for you,” I told him. “You can just take a doughnut. It’s not a big deal, I promise.”

“I grew up going to church, but I just couldn’t stand it anymore,” Dave replied. 

We talked for a short time that first day. Dave told me he came from a judgmental and hypocritical environment where religion was shoved down his throat. When Dave and I saw each other again, the conversation was much less abrasive from his end. We chatted a little about faith and what people believe. 

I was in the midst of helping some students start a new CCO club at DCCC, and I invited Dave to one of our conversational groups. This is one of the ways I build relationships with students. At the Doughnuts & Discussions Table, we offer to pray for students or we pose a question.

Are we alone in the universe? Does evil exist? What is love?

Students tell me that they’ve been looking for a space to talk about deeper things, about the sorts of things that give meaning to why they’re in school, but that they don’t always find it. We offer students doughnuts and a space to talk about topics that aren’t usually broached through regular classroom engagement.

Long before I was doing ministry at Delaware County Community College, 

there was a group of women from Springton Lake Presbyterian Church (SLPC) who actively pursued college students through prayer, writing letters, and sending care packages. Now through the CCO, I serve as SLPC’s Young Adult Ministry Director and Campus Minister to students at Delaware County Community College.

I believe that these ladies paved the way for the ministry I do today. Many non-Christian students who I reach out to are blown away to see that a church they have never attended—or heard of—sends them something with no strings attached. Like the D&D Table, the church’s outreach has opened a door to talking about the things of faith.

Many of the students I meet have such animosity towards a stereotypeof Christianity that ourcongregation does not embody. The people in this church genuinely care about college students. They show it in so many ways—from care packages to hosting lunches to providing generous scholarships for students to attend the CCO’s annual Jubilee conference in Pittsburgh.

The church is as supportive of my outreach to students who may never show up for a worship service as they are eager to welcome those who do get involved in the ministry. Every church I’ve been a part of is imperfect, and I am as much a part of that problem as anyone else. But the Church is the vehicle that the Lord has given us to show us who we are and to show the world who He is. I tell students this: if I’m inviting you into a relationship with Jesus, I’m also inviting you into a relationship with His people, the Church. You can’t have one without the other.