by Judson Van Wyk
On a rainy Friday morning three weeks ago, twelve of our college students, Rachel, and I hopped in a couple of vans and made a road trip to Pittsburgh. Why Pittsburgh? Because that is where JUBILEE 2019 was happening: the annual conference put on by the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), our mission partner for college ministry here at Church of the Redeemer.
[Side note: You may not realize it, but here at Church of the Redeemer we are a part of one of the most dynamic movements across the country to reach college students with the transformative gospel of Jesus Christ. We are partnered with CCO, a campus ministry organization that works with the local church to help students see that they need the gospel, the church, and a biblical vision for their entire lives. Through our partnership, we have an on-campus presence at Guilford College and also minister to students from UNCG, NCA&T, and Greensboro College in our midst.]
Jubilee is unlike any other Christian conference I’ve been to. Every year, through brilliant main stage speakers and smaller workshops, they help us reframe our lives around the biblical narrative of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. That means not only looking at the biblical story itself but applying that narrative to every area of students’ lives—hence this year’s theme, TRANSFORM EVERYTHING. Students who go to Jubilee get to see how the gospel transforms not only their hearts (which is crucial!), but also their studies, careers, families, economics, and politics. Among the dozens of available workshops this year were:
- “History Matters: How Can History Majors Advance the Kingdom of God?”
- “Marketplace as a Mission Place”
- “Can We Love our Neighbors Through Politics?”
- “Bearing Witness to the Gospel in a Distracted and Secular Age”
- “Conversations in Courage: Reflections on Birmingham 1963”
How cool is that? I could go on about how powerful the talks and workshops this year were, but here is a better idea: I’ll let our students speak for themselves. Check out what our students from Guilford were saying when we got back:
“This was the first time I realized that I don’t have to choose between my passion for justice and my faith. I not only heard about God’s heart for justice but got to meet Christians living it out in the context of government, which is exactly what I want to do.”
“I feel like God destined for me to go to Jubilee. It was exactly what I needed after the passing of my uncle, and I heard God speak to me about the purposes he has for my life.”
“Jubilee was not what I expected. It challenged me in ways that surprised me. I’ve had a passion for racial justice and unity in the church, and the workshops and main talks helped me to understand more of what it takes.”
“The most encouraging thing for me was getting to meet Christian students from other campuses, worship with 4,000 other college Christians, and to know that I’m not alone in my faith.”
“I was reminded that I am made in the image of God and have a beauty that can’t be erased. That is something that is often hard for me to believe and that I really needed to hear.”
Praise God for all He did and is still doing through the Jubilee Conference. And thank all of YOU whose generosity made it possible for many of our students to go!
Be encouraged that God is using you, and all of us in this church, to bring the transformative power of Christ to bear in the lives of young people in a pivotal season of life.