by Chase Abner, Collegiate Ministry Coordinator
On February 57, nearly 1,300 people arrived at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines for the 2016 Salt Company Spring Conference. The crowd included Salt Company students from Iowa State, University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, and several smaller schools across the state. Throughout the weekend, attendees were challenged to give their life to Jesus Christ and to do so primarily through joining in God’s work through local churches.
Along with worship led by musicians from Ames and Iowa City, the students received teaching from pastors at Candeo Church (Cedar Falls), Cornerstone Church (Ames), and Veritas Church (Iowa City). The conference opened with Sabino on Friday night, where he said, “”Outside of the trinity there is not a relationship more important to Jesus than the one he calls his bride.” With that, the tone was set for the conference. There were other messages from Troy Nesbitt (Cornerstone), Mark Arant (Veritas), and Jeff Dodge (Cornerstone) that addressed church planting, church membership, and the power of biblical community.
Mark Vance, the director of Salt Company in Ames, said, “We cast a compelling vision for future church planting and launching new Salt Company ministries.” Students were given the opportunity to hear about the churches being planted with the network over the next year. Vance continued, “More than 150 students attended a session about the Des Moines church plant. Almost 100 attended a session to get more information about a church plant headed to the University of Missouri.”
Michael McVicker, a student at the Salt Company in Ames, said, “It was great to hear all that God was doing at the churches in our state and one of them stuck out to me.” That church was Candeo Church. This fall, they are sending their Salt Company director Stan Hayek to plant Anthem Church in Columbia, MO. McVicker said, “Next fall I will be transferring to the University
of Missouri to spread the Gospel through the new Anthem Church.”
Students also attended sessions about biblical manhood and womanhood, homosexuality and the church, and how to spend time with God. Vance said, “The Salt Company Spring Conference exists to connect involved in Salt Company across the state of Iowa to one another. Even more so, the Spring Conference exists to show these college students how God can use
their life, both now and in the future, to build His church.”
The conference came on the heels of a visit to Iowa by Kevin Ezell, the President of the North American Mission Board. While in Ames, Ezell addressed students at the Salt Company and urged them to give their first two years after college to planting churches. Based on feedback from students, it appears that many of them are taking that advice to heart.