By Rudy Hartman
December is crazy, in the traditional church structure. There are cantatas, youth programs, special events, and Christmas Eve services that dominate the time and minds of the staff. In the midst of these events, hundreds and thousands are reached with the good news of the Gospel. Yet, there seems to be a gap.
If college students who have only just gotten plugged in and involved at a local church are invited to events that are taking place two weeks after their last day of classes, how are they iced in to be a part of the community of that church? Ecclesiologically, is there a corporate invitation made if that corporate invitation does not include a significant portion of any church within a university context?
These are the questions wrestled down at Cornerstone Church, as we held our largest Christmas services on the weekend of December 11th and 12th, rather than on the 24th, in hopes of inviting and including a significant portion of our community to join us in worship.
Thousands upon thousands of people came to Cornerstone that weekend, including a tremendous number of college students. Why? Because we did not shift our mission to work with our schedule, but rather built our schedule around our mission. We unequivocally believe that God has positioned us here to reach collegiate students; therefore our schedule must reflect it. And in reflecting it, we saw God move in a way only He could across our campus and our community!
This Spring, we have decided to try something completely new. We have decided to do an official, organized Spring Kickoff. This will incorporate all of the elements from our Fall Kickoff, except for our Freshman Outreach. This is an important exclusion because we are actually leveraging the freshmen who are here already and empowering them to be the point of the dagger in reaching the other freshmen around them in their classroom, community, and dorm. They are being invited in to help own outreach on the campus.
Now, one may read this and think that sending freshmen sounds a lot like herding cats. This is where our Captains come into play. Our Captains are a group of our leaders who we pull in each Monday morning for further development and investment in hopes that they would grow more and more in their development as Christ-followers and leaders.
This group of captains is actually the lead team for the Kickoff. They have planned the events, are spearheading promotion on campus, leading Mission Trip to Campus, and running hospitality on the night of the Kickoff. In essence, we have given our captains ownership of the Spring Kickoff and they are running with it. We trust them for three primary reasons. First, we have seen their maturity and growth over at least one year on the Student Leadership Team of Salt Company. Second, we have upperclassmen – mostly Seniors – who have spent time in Salt Company and know our rhythms and embody the culture of Salt. Third, each of these leaders has direct access to staff by way of D-Groups, a weekly gathering of 4-6 leaders for the purpose of shepherding the hearts of our leaders.
These leaders have been led by our staff team, some for one year, others in their third year, and in any case, it has led to the development of some of our most effective and potent leaders who are centered on the Gospel and have a desire to reach the campus. The planning stages of Spring Kickoff are coming to an end, and in the coming days these Captains will step back on campus and have the opportunity to lead the efforts of Salt Company to reach the campus these first weeks. We can’t wait to see what God will do!