Maybe you have questions as well: Why are we doing this? Is it really necessary? What is it going to look like? How can I be involved? How does this fit within the ministry of Second Baptist Church?
Let's see if I can answer some of those questions for you. Why are we doing this? There are a few reasons we are launching The Gathering; 1) we are launching The Gathering out of a need to have some more flexibility in how we try to reach college students and young adults here in Huntsville. 2) We see that even though there are several churches/ministries trying to engage college students and young adults with the Gospel here in Huntsville, there are still many who are not being reached. 3) We truly believe that God has placed us in a prime location with our proximity to Sam Houston State University so that we literally have a mission field at our doorstep. It would be a tragic mistake on our part not to seek out ways to engage that mission field with the Gospel.
Is it really necessary? With approximately twenty thousand students at Sam, as well as all the other young adults in and around Huntsville, we believe that it is not only necessary but vital that we seek new and creative opportunities to present the life-changing message of Jesus in ways that are Relevant, Real, and Relational.
What is it going to look like? To be honest, we do not have a set in stone idea of how it is going to look. We are going to be learning and adjusting as we go. That being said, there will be some elements that will be involved in The Gathering. It is our desire that we provide a worship/Bible study experience that will engage people with depth and relevance. It is our hope that our times of worship will involve music that is appealing, times of prayer that are meaningful and creative, Bible teaching that is relevant and deep, and a comfortable environment that is welcoming. Besides the times of worship/Bible study, we also want to begin providing small group opportunities that facilitate discussion and relationships because we believe that life change occurs best in the context of relationships. We also will be looking to provide avenues for service in our community and beyond. It is important for us to seek ways to give of ourselves in service to others as we grow and mature in Christ, so we will be looking for meaningful ways to serve our community.
How can I be involved? The first way you can be involved is to simply show up! We will also be looking for people with creative talents to help out with our times of worship/Bible study, and this means more than just musical talents. It is our desire to provide opportunities for people to utilize the talents God has given them in creative ways, so let us know (this is why we don't have some ideas set in stone!) As we begin small groups a few weeks down the line, we encourage you get involved that way. We will need some small group leaders as well! We also want to encourage you to find some avenues for service, both in the current ministries of Second Baptist and as we find those meaningful ways of serving our community.
How does this fit within the ministry of Second Baptist Church? It is important that everyone understands that we are not trying to start a college church here at Second Baptist Church. What we are trying to do is leverage the resources God has given to Second Baptist Church to effectively reach and engage the young adults and college students in and around Huntsville with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are simply trying to be faithful to the command, "Go and make disciples!"
I hope this helps clear up some questions you may have. It promises to be an adventure as we get started with The Gathering, I hope you will join us in that adventure!