Christian Challenge has been forced to abandon its original meeting location on Thursday nights and relocate to the huge, white tent across from the main campus entrance.
It stands on the lawn owned by the Baptist Student Union and was raised to provide enough room for their Thursday night meetings. Previously, they met in the basement of the house on that property. As more people kept attending, they rearranged the space to add more chairs, but that proved insufficient. By last semester, there were times when it was standing room only.
It is truly amazing how the BSU has grown in the past several years. The tent is, in a way, a visible sign of the growth even in other areas of the group. On Thursday nights, the BSU has a ministry they call “Christian Challenge” where dinner is provided, worship is led, a lesson is taught, and then there are usually games after. However, that isn’t the only time that student members meet. The organization has student led small groups that meet once a week to build relationships with students and encourage them in their lives. Two years ago, there were about 10 students leading these groups. Now, there are 19 students on the leadership team.
The increase in growth is a curious occurrence as it is disproportionate to the rise of student enrollment. Campus minister for Christian Challenge Paul Damery says, “It’s because of students who are investing their lives into the lives of others. Obviously that’s meeting a need… God’s doing something.” Student at Missouri Western and staff member of Christian Challenge, Miranda Durr, may be an example of that. She believes strongly that she is to give up her time in support of other students. “In a society that’s dominated by Tumbler posts and social media, Instagram, all these likes, sometimes we tend to forget how much it means to have community right in front of us,” Durr said. Durr believes that Christian Challenge provides the community that people need. Student and lead team member Adam Woodrum seemed to agree as he shared what Christian Challenge has meant to him saying, “Christian Challenge for me has been a rich community of Christ followers helping me to follow Christ for myself.”
Christian Challenge held their first tent gathering two Thursdays ago and will continue to meet on the lawn until the weather forces them to do otherwise. Their conviction that God is calling them to be a resource to students on campus is pushing them to be available for however many students need them. They have faith that the same God they trust for salvation will provide enough space for the amount of people they feel God is calling them to love.