By Sam Battaglieri
The heart and drive of the Salt Company of Cornerstone Church is the next generation. The Salt Company is focused on reaching, teaching, and equipping college students, preparing them for a life-long walk with Christ alongside a local church and healthy community. As a staff member, this theological vision translates into a practice of meeting up with numerous students on a weekly basis. I get the unique opportunity of hanging out and listening to students with an array of different backgrounds. The spectrum can range from the guy who never went to church as a child or teen that is now seeing God’s loving grace in and through Christ to the guy who has gone to church all his life and thinks that he has somehow earned God’s favor because of it. It is a special opportunity I have to be able to listen, learn, and love these guys wherever they are in their walk with Christ.
Recently, two guys’ stories stand out to me that I would love to share with you. One guy somewhat grew up in the church. His family was there for a bit, but stopped going when we was young. His familial-religious context made him into someone who is very moral. Through a handful of events, this guy connected with an old high school baseball opponent (and friend) –who happens to be a Salt Company leader! Now this guy is digging into community and desiring to learn more about Jesus. I do not know if he has truly decided to follow Christ, but I do know God is working in him and I would not be surprised if his heart is ahead of his mind on this one.
Another guy I have been meeting up with grew up attending a Catholic Church and working on his family’s farm. The mixture of his familial religious context shaped him into someone who needs to live up to certain expectations, whether they belong to his earthly father or God. Like many who grow up in the church that I have interacted with, he sees God as disappointed when the expectations that he has created, are not met. The disciplines are more of a burden than a joy, and the Christian life is a checklist rather than a process of sanctification in becoming Christ-like. I get the joy of walking through what sanctification looks like with this guy as I remind him of the Gospel. We’ll be looking at some books –he loves books- that lay out the topic clearly, and at God’s Word.
It is evident that I have a sweet, unique opportunity meeting with students at Iowa State University. I get to see what God is doing on this campus from the front row seats. God’s work in the lives of these two aforementioned guys during this season of their life looks like the seed form, I think, of what will continue to grow through their college careers and young adult lives. It is a joy to walk alongside them and watch what God is doing in their lives, and I look forward to seeing the grow during their time at ISU and beyond.