This past May I graduated from Tulane University. When I first arrived in New Orleans four years ago, attending Tulane was the only thing on my mind. To be honest, I did not have much of a heart for this city. I simply wanted to do my time, get my degree, and move on to what I thought would be bigger and better things. Yet one decision radically altered my heart and changed my entire experience as a college student. That decision was deciding to plug in to a local church.
Growing up, I was always involved in the local church. For me, it was a natural part of life. However, when I left home for college, I was immediately faced with the decision of whether or not to look for a new church family. I joined a campus ministry and even served on its leadership team my entire time at Tulane, but it did not replace the need I had to plug into a local church. Being a part of Vintage these past fours years has prepared me for life as a believer after college when campus ministries are no longer available to me. For those currently in college, I believe there are three main ways involvement in the local church can impact your life. They can be summarized by the core values Vintage Church holds to: truth, love, and community.
Truth: The knowledge, study, and application of truth in Scripture taught in the local church is indispensable to college students. While truth is undoubtedly taught and studied within campus ministries, God has ordained pastors within the local church to “shepherd” God’s people, equipping them to teach and preach his word (1 Pe 5:1-4; 1 Ti 3:2). Within the context of the local church, students can be shepherded, taught, and cared for in a way that is simply not possible (or the primary responsibility) for campus ministries. Though I learned a great deal about God’s Word in my time with Tulane’s multiple campus ministries, it was Vintage that provided the opportunity for me to be challenged, led, and even discipled by older, more mature believers in different stages of life than my own.
Love: Not only does the local church provide avenues for discipleship and growing in truth as a believer, it also helps cultivate a burden for the city. At Vintage, I am not just meeting other college students. I get to meet moms and dads, teachers, doctors, the unemployeed, etc. When Vintage gathers for worship or fellowship, I am able to build relationships with people from all over New Orleans. As I got to know more people from New Orleans in my first year at Vintage, I found myself having more of a heart for the city. Plugging into the life of Vintage Church took me outside the bubble of Tulane University. Now my heart is broken for the lost on campus AND for the city.
Community: This heart for the city naturally leads to a desire to reach the city. While campus ministries often provide “mission projects” to serve someone in the area, their primary mission is to reach other students on campus. The local church, however, is able to focus on the entire city and beyond since it is not confined within a college campus. As a result, the local church has the responsibility and opportunity to establish relationships with people (neighbors, coworkers, etc.) throughout the city for the sake of the gospel and God’s glory. In my time at Vintage, God has grown my love for the broader, more diverse expression of the church. As I have served alongside other members at Vintage, I have grown in community with people that I never would have met if I only “attended” Vintage and spent the majority of my time on a college campus. Having plugged into the life, mission, and community of Vintage, it is no longer simply my church. It is truly my church family.
So plug into a local church. Partner with a church in the city that God is using to reach New Orleans and beyond. If you feel as though Vintage Church is the right fit for you, here are some ways you can partner with Vintage Church:
- Join a Community Group
- Faithfully Attend Worship Gatherings
- Faithfully Give
- Faithfully Volunteer
You can more info about partnering with Vintage Church at our website.