Disciples making disciples making disciples
TULSA, Okla. — Inside the Connect Church sanctuary, microphoned voices…
Located across the street from the football stadium, Renew averaged over 40 students last year.
Anna Strother, 21, an Arkansas Tech senior from Texas, found Renew during the fall 2022 semester. She said the people there have helped her feel at home.
“I am still relatively new to the Renew family. However, I think it’s beautiful that Renew has such a long history of bringing college students together in the name of Christ,” Strother said. “Life is difficult, and we all need that love and support through life that maybe we don’t receive outside of church or campus ministry.”
Renew hosted an alumni reunion weekend June 3-4 to celebrate 20 years in its campus house, about 80 miles northwest of Little Rock. Alumni from four decades of ministry visited.
“I love knowing that there is so much history in our Renew campus house of people coming together — countless lives that were changed because of Jesus,” Strother said.
Over 250 alumni and their families attended the event, where they ate dinner and listened to speakers.
They came “to the campus house to reminisce, tell old stories, view old pictures, see familiar faces and, ultimately, to celebrate the good that God has done through this ministry,” Renew director Grayson Taylor said.
Taylor, a 2014 Arkansas Tech alumnus, met his wife, Amanda, through the Church of Christ Student Center while they were students.
“The college years are arguably the most formative years in a person’s life,” Taylor said. “We need more campus ministries. We need to reach more college-aged students. This reunion alone was evidence that the Gospel is making an impact on college students throughout every era.”
“The college years are arguably the most formative years in a person’s life. We need more campus ministries. We need to reach more college-aged students.”
The ministry at Arkansas Tech started in 1980, former director Chris Buxton said, making this its 43rd year.
In 1998, Buxton became the director. He oversaw the construction of the new building for the Church of Christ Student Center in 2003. Buxton now works as the executive director for ULife, an Arkansas-based consulting firm that helps plant and grow campus ministries.
“Very few enter college with a fully formed worldview, and very few leave college without one,” Buxton said. “So I think for many people, the college years are when you make all of those huge decisions that set the trajectory for the rest of your life.”
Renew connects students with Christians outside their generation, Strother said. That helps them make connections that would not have existed otherwise.
“The people from past generations as well as those in my own all feel like a big family,” she explained. “I am fortunate to be a part of it.”
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