By Chase Abner, BCI Collegiate Ministry Coordinator
By Chase Abner, BCI Collegiate Ministry Coordinator
My name is Matt Snyder, and I have been a discipleship coach for The Salt Company this past spring semester at the University of Northern Iowa. I am now working with TSC as an intern for the summer and fall semester. I would like to share two stories that clearly demonstrate Gods hand at work through students and ministry leaders.
The first story is about a guy I met in a class I was taking in the fall of 2015. We had gotten to know each other pretty well over the course of the semester, due to time spent together and similar interests. I also had invited him to TSC on Thursday nights, although most of the time he could not make it due to prior commitments. It was not until the spring semester where we were able to consistently spend time together along with attending TSC more regularly. It was one specific Thursday night however, where the spirit was truly at work in his heart.
After listening to a sermon over purity the previous week, Stan Hayek had just finished speaking over relationships when he approached me after the worship had ended. With tear filled eyes, he began to confess the impurity in his life and the hate he had towards the repetitive nature of his actions. We did not have enough time to talk, so I suggested meeting at Panera early the following week. Again, it was the same somber and convicted look on his face, like that of a guilty man feeling the weight of his unlawful actions.
Even before we arrived, he sat in the passenger seat with tears rolling down his face. “I’m finished,” he said, “I don’t want anymore of this…I know there is more that satisfies the desires of my heart.” By God’s grace I was able to articulate the Gospel to him and discern his understanding. I was able to get him into a connection group where he was able to be in the community he needed, in order to grow in his walk and relationship with the Father. He will be one of our student leaders this coming fall and is truly excited to lead a group and disciple other men.
The second story I would like to share concerns a spring break trip I was able to plan and lead down to Columbia, Missouri for The Salt Company. The goal of the trip: to love the churches and community in Columbia, along with launching the first Salt Company on the University of Missouri campus. Thirty students from the three state schools in Iowa coughed up $120 and their spring break. They devoted six days to traveling five hours south, visiting local churches, picking up garbage along trashed ditches, cleaning a local churches property, and connecting with students on the UM campus.
We were able to bless the city as we helped clean it up, which has led to much praise and fruitful relationship with the city coordinators and workers. Additionally, we were able to connect with dozens of students on the university campus and, by God’s grace, around 45 students showed up to hear Gods word taught, the gospel shared, and connections made for the future Salt Company connection groups that would come in the fall of 2016.
Stan Hayek was heading the Salt Company celebration service and, through the number of students that showed up and the desire by the students on the trip, he was led to plan three additional trips down to the university to hold more celebration services. They were able to build upon the relationships made and connect with additional students on campus. Furthermore, the spring break trip strengthened the relationships between the students from the different Iowa state schools and help solidify students’ heart calling from God to transfer schools to the University of Missouri to help with the church planting.
By Christina Redd, Salt Company Collegiate Intern at Candeo Church,
I would first like to thank the BCI churches for providing funds for me and The Salt Company ministry. Financial partners are just as crucial to a ministry, as the people on the front lines. A great illustration of this, is if someone falls into a well, who is more important: the person who is willing to go down the well or the person holding the rope up top? They both are essential! So, with a sincere heart, thank you.
I have just completed my first year of full-time college ministry. Throughout the year I have had the pleasure of witnessing God bring more than 60 new believers to Christ, watch our student leadership team grow from 62 to 100, and now watch Candeo Church commission yet another group of people to continue the work in Columbia, MO.
Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most godly people I know. I’ve learned the importance of authenticity without compromising holiness. I’ve learned that although we are payed to minister to college students, the goal is to disciple our leaders, so that, they are the ones ministering to the masses. Lastly, I’ve learned that ministry is a team effort of people who are humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at the word of God.
Again, thank you for not only supporting me financially, but by prayer. As the year is coming to an end, I am preparing to move and work for the next church plant in Columbia, MO. This first year of ministry was an amazing opportunity and our prayer is that God would go before us like he did with Candeo Church.
By Kaylee Hunting
Each spring semester Salt Company begins its leadership push. Current student leaders as well as the staff encourage Salt Company students to apply for Salt Company Leadership through multiple avenues. It is announced from the stage during our Thursday night gatherings, students taking our Theology of the Gospel course are encouraged to apply, and we ask our student leaders to recruit new leaders.
We believe that students on leadership is the best way we can disciple our Salt Company students. Salt Company Leaders have multiple responsibilities, and we entrust them to lead a small group discussion weekly with their peers. Because Salt Company Leadership is so valuable to our ministry, we put a lot of thought and effort into the application process.
First students fill out an application online. Their current connection group leader is asked to fill out a reference form. Then two Salt Staff members will interview the student for a 45 minute session. This whole process spans a four week time period.
This spring I got to interview Kelsey* who I had met in the fall. Kelsey had gotten plugged into a connection group after her first few times at Salt Company. In the Spring, I encouraged her to sign up for our Theology of the Gospel course. Kelsey hadn’t originally signed up for leadership, but I asked her to consider applying. After some thought, she decided to apply.
During the interview, Kelsey felt like she had to come up with a moment where she became a christian. She shared a story of how she felt guilty for lying in 4th grade. Throughout the entire interview, I had the sense that Kelsey wanted to follow Jesus, but she didn’t necessarily know how to. She kept mentioning how she should have stronger faith. We also sensed that she felt like she had to have it all together during the interview. I challenged her by suggesting that her decision in 4th grade was potentially a decision to be moral rather than surrendering her life to Jesus. I pointed out that Jesus has actually been pursuing her a ton this year, and then shared the sweetness of Jesus’ grace and how that allows us to be broken. Because of Jesus’ grace, we don’t have to have our lives all together. I was able to help her make connections by including terms and concepts that we had covered in Theology of the Gospel.
Kelsey agreed with everything that we said, and before she left she asked, “How do I surrender my life to Jesus?” It was such a joy to share the simplicity of the Gospel and to see Kelsey’s immediate response to it. It was like all of the pieces of the puzzle that she had been gathering this year finally connected.
by Timur Nesbitt, Young Adult/Collegiate Ministries Intern, First Family Church Ankeny
I remember last summer I met a DMACC student named Nick White who became a good friend of mine during this year. When I first met him he was very quiet and different in his personality. But God used our friendship to go deep in our spiritual conversations that we had all this year to point each other to Christ. We became so close that it is going to be very hard to so say goodbye this summer.
by Jenny Calsyn, Salt Company Coordinator
We have seen God work in big ways this year as we have had the amazing opportunity to launch The Salt Company in Cedar Rapids, IA. God continually draws new students to our ministry each week. I can still remember our fall kickoff so vividly. We had spent hours upon hours on campuses promoting and getting the word out for our kickoff. As we were getting ready that evening a panic came over us as we began to fear that no students would come. As 8:00 came closer, students began pouring into the room. We had 74 people there that night and left praising God for what he had done. That has been the theme of this year, understanding that God is the one who is doing the work and we just get to be a part of it. So many times we have seen God’s power at work when we feel like we haven’t done enough.
One really encouraging story is that of two of our student leaders. Hannah and James have been dating for about 3 years and just last year because serious about their faith and have made some God honoring changes in their lives. We had an informal soft launch for Salt in the Spring of 2015 where we meet each Thursday and had a girls and guys bible study that met each week. Hannah had begun to feel like she needed to make a change in her life and was told about The Salt Company by a friend. She told James about this feeling and they both decided they would attend Salt together. Both of them throughout that semester really experienced God. James had been dealing with depression and Hannah was dealing with a lot of anxiety and emptiness. They both made a stand for purity and experienced the healing power of forgiveness in their lives and relationship. It has been really awesome to have them both on leadership this year. James is going to be an intern next semester and has been able to witness to some of his high school best friends where he has begun to see changes in their lives too. Hannah co leads a connection group on her campus and is a very faithful leader to her girls. She has a desire to do full time ministry in the future as well and I believe has a gifting for women’s ministry.
We also have a guy named Mark that has started coming to our ministry a few months ago. During the Spring Conference as he listened to the messages and worshipped alongside other students, he realized that he wasn’t a believer and wanted to devote his life to Christ. Our director had the chance to pray with him and it has been fun to see him get connected with the guys in our ministry.
I have learned a lot from this past year. I think the biggest thing I have learned is that God is at work and I am just a tool. It is easy for me to put all the pressure on myself but I just need to surrender to him and allow him to work through me. I also have learned how to better minister to my girls. It was hard at first to know how to dig deep into heart issues but God has taught me through the last year how much better it is to speak truth in love. I am a people pleaser and my tendency is to shy away from offending anyone no matter what but I have been convicted of how wrong that is. If I truly care about my girls, then I will care more about their relationship with God instead of about how they view me.
I am so thankful for the network of BCI churches and the support they have given me! I can’t express how much it has meant to receive it. I truly believe God has big things planned for the lives of students at Coe College, Kirkwood, Mount Mercy and Cornell. This is just the start of what he will do and I can’t to see more of it unfold! Thank you so much!
by Shannon Ness
As leadership interviews begin for next fall, the staff is hearing so many stories of how God is using the community of Salt Company to shape the lives of students and draw them near to Him. Irene is one of the students who applied and this is her story:
“I was invited to go to Salt Company through a friend that I had made during freshman year from On Iowa! I went to Salt Company throughout that year and though I made some great friends, it was a bit hard for me to really make new friends other than the handful that I had made. Everyone seemed to already know one another and with Salt Company being so big and still growing, it gave me a bit of anxiety. The fact that being Asian-American, also made me feel a little out of place. I stopped going afterwards and the following year decided to really focus on bettering my relationship with the Lord after recognizing how much of a baby Christian I was. A lot of my time went into ASK Prayer Ministry, a para-church student organization in which Peter Kim was leading at the time. There, I really grew in recognizing the importance of prayer and the Word. I ended up leaving that community altogether.
Towards the end of this semester, the Lord revealed to me the importance of having a Christian community. Allison Taylor, a student from Salt Company asked me to come to Salt and encouraged me to apply for Salt Company Leadership, since it’s not just about being an adequate leader, but having people to keep you accountable in your faith. I was hesitant at first, not knowing if I would even be considered since I was not consistently involved with The Salt Company. I was invited to Allison’s connection group and to Salt, the first time I went back was the last day to get applications in for salt leadership.
As to why I decided to apply for leadership, a big part of it was a leap in faith. At the time in which I applied, a lot of things were going on in my life. One of which was that I was dating a non-Christian. Long story short, the Lord had revealed to me that His blessing was not in it. And in one way, applying for leadership gave me that final push I needed to break up with him. Ultimately, I wanted to be better equipped and to gain more experience in learning, leading and telling others about Christ. A sister from my sorority started asking me about God and coming with me to Veritas. She asked some great questions and I can see the Lord working in her, as well as other sisters in the sorority, but I felt that I was lacking in experience and leadership in bringing them to the Lord. As well as bridging the gap between people of different cultures (Asians especially, since Asian awareness is something I am very passionate about) and Christianity. Since for those cultures, Christianity isn’t a dominant religion in their country.”
It is so cool how God is created a culture of bold leaders within Salt Company, who are turning away from their sin and leaning into a relationship with Christ.
by Shannon Ness
After 5 short years, the Salt Company Iowa City has its first full class of graduating seniors. Nearly ⅓ of leadership is graduating. To celebrate Salt Company seniors joined together at the Veritas Warehouse to encourage each other and learn about what it looks like to follow Christ after college. Tables were decorated with flags that cheerfully shouted “TSC” and plates were full of a variety of meats, cheeses, and other delightful snacks. Most importantly smiles spread across faces and hearts were full as we looked back at the four years that we spent with each other.
The night began with an opportunity for students to give a “shout out.” Students stood up and complimented each other and reminded each other of how Christ used each one of them to encourage one another and keep them strong in their faith. As someone who was originally invited to Salt company by some of the other seniors in the room, Shannon stood up and said, “SHOUT OUT! to the people who were praying for me when I was choosing to live a life wrapped around the party culture of Iowa City and for inviting me into a community that is centered on Christ.” Dalton stood up and said, “SHOUT OUT! To Carrissa Duehr for always being cheerful and greeting people with hugs to make them feel loved, encouraged, and welcomed.” The chatter circled around, as everyone encouraged each other for their faithfulness to the community of The Salt Company and The University of Iowa.
The night transitioned into a time for the directors of Salt Company to explain the importance of finding a good church community and managing their finances with the kingdom in mind. Students were reminded that Salt Company was not created to be a four year program during college, and then we never talk to them again, but instead that Salt Company is a lifelong community. Students were reminded to stay in touch with the network and that we will be calling them to see how God is working in their lives as they transition into a new season of life.
by Christopher Cox, Cornerstone Church Media Specialist,
Since The Salt Company began more than 40 years ago, God has used the ministry to reach, equip, and mobilize college students with the Gospel. Through The Salt Company, we’ve been able to plant churches across the state of Iowa and now have a Salt Company on the campus of each major university across the state, as well as Columbia, Missouri.
In the past, we’ve felt isolated in our approach towards college ministry, with an emphasis on the local church. Recently, through Collegiate Collective, we’ve been blessed to find a new community to engage with that’s just as passionate about reaching university students as we are. We were even able to have a time for like-minded ministries to come together here in Ames.
This past week, April 14-17, Hitchhikers Salt allowed more than 300 people from college ministries across the United States and Canada to engage in breakout sessions, messages, and networking to help guide and nourish their passion for the next generation.
Here’s a brief overview from Salt Company Director Mark Vance:
Before college, Peter’s life was marked by deception and lack of trust. He often lied to his parents in order to do hang out with friends and lied to his friends in order to impress them. His faith was twisted and not consistent with what the Bible teaches. He constantly tried to adapt the Bible and Jesus to fit his situation and his personality.
Peter always considered Jesus to be present in his life, but it wasn’t until his semester of college that God revealed who He truly is to Peter. He realized God is unchanging and doesn’t adapt or make exemptions to exempt certain sins or circumstances. He has been and always will be the same. Peter’s life changed when he finally accepted that fact. Jesus broke the walls he placed around his heart and explosively revealed the true character of God to him that he had twisted for so long.
His life after Christ has been characterized by a renewal of joy and a repairing of relationships that had been damaged in the past due to his sin. He is no longer caught up in achieving goals and accomplishments that only give temporary satisfaction. He went from being an isolated, furiously independent kid to a man immersed and dependent upon a community of believers.
God used The Salt Company as a way for him to be welcomed into a community that was not focused on partying or even school, but the Bible. He made friends that encouraged him to grow closer to Christ. It also gave him the chance to join leadership and lead a connection group. Through this process of refinement, he has noticed that he has grown in maturity and now lives a life at a higher standard in regards to sin.
God’s power has transformed Peter, an inherently sinful child, into a man unburdened and freed from the sin that used to identify him. Peter now submits and trusts in God and His word. Because of this, he took a step of obedience this month to be baptized at Veritas church along with sixteen of his brothers and sisters in Christ.
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