Student proselytizing

The article Students move in faith appeared in the ISU Daily today, showing the Christian perspective of student proselytizing, taken to the extreme of 50+ students changing schools to start a new ministry. An article tomorrow will show the ethical and administrative perspectives.

What are your thoughts on the article, and on these questions?

    The full text of the article is reposted here for posterity because the ISU Daily search engine does not work well and we want to be sure that anyone who wants to read the article can find it.

    Mark Arant, college director of the Cornerstone Church of Ames, plans to move and act as the lead pastor of the Cornerstone Church of Iowa City. ISU students intend to transfer and follow Arant. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

    Students Move in Faith

    Members transfer to University of Iowa to aid future church

    By Torey Robinson — Daily Staff Writer

    Published: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:26 PM CST
    A calling is the only way they can describe it.

    Mark Arant felt it when asked to move to lead a new church in Iowa City.

    Justan Spaid, junior in political science, felt it the moment a leader announced during Salt Company that Arant would be planting a new congregation and college program at the University of Iowa — and wanted 100 students to transfer and go with him.

    James Laugerman, junior in political science, felt it after watching dozens of peers volunteering to consider the opportunity without hesitation.

    It was the call to serve.

    Arant, college director of Ames Cornerstone Church, was approached by lead pastor Troy Nesbitt and teaching pastor Jeff Dodge in late October asking if he would be interested in leading a similar ministry in Iowa City.

    He said he would pray about the decision to move his wife and five children to a new location.

    “When most people begin new churches they are not happy with the current situation and have new ideas about how a ministry could be run, but that was not the issue in my case,” Arant said. “I’m in a ministry candyland. There’s no better place than Cornerstone.”

    “It was hard because my family loves our house,” he said. “We love Ames. We love our church. I love my job. But the thought of being able to take this somewhere else where it is needed got me truly excited — and missions always come first.”

    Arant made the choice within one week.

    “I just felt like God was inviting me on a journey. It’s like when I’m hiking in Colorado with my kids and I say, ‘Come off the trail and follow dad for a minute.’ It’s not a command, it’s an invitation. And if you follow, you’re going to love the view. I did not want to miss out.”

    The pastors decided to announce the news to the student congregation at the close of its weekly meeting of the Salt Company Student Fellowship.

    “They asked if any students were willing to go, if we felt a calling or a passing thought,” Spaid said.

    Spaid stood immediately. “I had no reason to hesitate. I had a thought, and it just stuck. Being at the point I am in life, it just made sense.”

    At least 100 students joined his action in initial interest of transferring schools, Spaid said.

    Laugerman was one.

    “I didn’t know if the answer was yes right then,” he said, “but I knew I wanted to consider it.”

    Other students in the group were not as confident right away. Hannah Grimm, a sophomore in elementary education, took several weeks to come to a final decision.

    “I had a definite interest right away, but I want to think and pray about the logical side of transferring,” Grimm said.

    Grimm said her parents wanted her to pray and make the decision for herself. “They wanted me to use reasoning. Once I made my choice they were completely supportive.”

    Spaid did not have the same experience with his family immediately after sharing the news.

    “They were most shocked that I wanted to become a Hawkeye. Both my parents graduated from Iowa State and we all thought I was going to graduate from Iowa State,” Spaid said. “My family is also from Ames, so they were a little apprehensive to hear their youngest son won’t be so close. They were worried and they’re still adjusting. But my mind is made up.”

    Spaid, who aspires to be a lawyer, feels the transfer to the University of Iowa will better prepare him for admission to Iowa’s law school.

    Spaid, Grimm and Laugerman said they will not have difficulty graduating at the same time as they would if they continued an education at Iowa State.

    “I am blessed to have a major that will allow me to transfer and follow this calling,” Grimm said. “God is paving the way for us and I can put my trust in him.”

    Spaid maintains a similar outlook as Grimm. “I can pray and trust God will take care of everything. He is preparing a journey and I can trust that God will take care of class and take care of finances and take care of all the logistical stuff,” he said.

    The logical aspect of the move is not what will be the most challenging, Spaid said.

    “We will all be challenged in getting the word out. In Ames, it’s kind of built into the town,” he said. “Most people think of going abroad when they think of spreading his word, but not everyone in America is saved. In Iowa City, the lifestyle is living for the world. They are giving birth to sin. We just want to spread the word of Christ, and with all of us together, we can.”

    “We will all be a general help for the whole ministry and we will spread God’s name and lead people to a relationship with Christ,” Grimm said.

    Arant said about 50 students have verbally committed to transferring to the University of Iowa for the fall 2010 semester. It still remains a challenge determining who is in the situation to go.

    “We don’t want people to be an opportunist and go to Iowa City because everyone else is going, because it will be hard,” Arant said. “But at the same time we want to encourage everyone to take a risk because it is an amazing opportunity. But it’s important that they come with me, because college kids will change the world.”

    College students are not the only ones changing plans to aid with the church plant.

    Jessica Schmeckpeper, senior in child, adult and family services, will graduate in May and chose to search Iowa City for a job so that she can assist Cornerstone and Salt Company’s new endeavors.

    “I have been changed, taught and loved in Christ so much that my life will never be the same,” Schmeckpeper said. “Having the chance to be a part of spreading that to others, and impact girls the way I have been impacted for the Lord would be such a blessing for me. We believe that God is going to move in great ways through this, and I want to be a part of that.”

    The Cornerstone Church of Iowa City will not have a building right away. Rather, it will use a building on the University of Iowa campus or in the Pedestrian Mall area. The first Salt Company will take place the first week of school and services for the church will begin in September.

    Many of the students will move to Iowa City in August, and are excited for the transition.

    “It’s an adventure. It’s a life experience. It’s a calling,” Laugerman said. “It’s hard to see now what we will gain, but I know it’s the right move.”

    Number Crunching

    • $287,800 – The amount ISU would lose in the 2009-10 academic year in tuition dollars if 50 students left for U of I.
    • $575,600 – The amount ISU would lose in the 2009-10 academic year in tuition dollars if 100 students left for U of I.

    — Based off projected Spring 2010 tuition

    Copyright © 2010 – Iowa State Daily

    One comment on “Student proselytizing

    1. Jeff says:

      AAS: You may not be “saved”, but at least we won’t make you become a Hawkeye.

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