If you know CNU, you know change, and lots of it. The same could be said for knowing the Lord – the one who created us is continually fashioning us in the image of his Son. As Paul says in Philippians 1:5-6, “I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
This fall we have seen the Lord carrying on his work at CNU in a multitude of ways. After a bumpy start to the school year due to Hurricane Irene, we still had over 100 students become involved in small group ministry in September. Due to the evacuation, our leadership retreat dates were pushed back, forcing us to get creative in preparing our leaders for their new roles. As we scrambled to get things done, there were many logistical things that fell through. And yet, it seemed that the students were more energized than ever, stepping up and owning the responsibility for inviting people into our fellowship.
For example, when Stephen and Rob* were dismayed that no one showed up to their small group, another leader encouraged them to door to door in a freshmen dorm, inviting people. They now have several freshmen guys meeting weekly to study Scripture together.
At leadership retreat, I (Beth) saw new levels of vulnerability as I talked with women’s small group leaders about their anxieties and hopes for the year. “It’s scary to think that I’m going to be the point person during Bible study now,” said Lauren. “But I know that God will give me the words to say and the strength to care for people.” At the small group volleyball tournament just a few weeks later, she seemed totally at ease in the midst of about 10 other women, talking and cheering together.
Though God’s plans were not our plans for the first few weeks of the semester, he did allow us to follow through with something we’ve been planning for several years now – the move into a new large group room.
In the midst of massive construction and in order to make way for new buildings, two of the rooms in which we’ve previously hosted large group were torn down (McMurran 101 where we met from ’00-’04, and the original Gaines Theater, ’04-’07). And while the DSU Ballroom was a great home for us the last 4 years, we’ve now moved to a place where we serve the CNU campus better (read: our musical worship noise level is contained) and it serves us better (we have minimal room and equipment setup). More than this, the room is laid out in such a way that it facilitates community better than any other space we’ve had.
This is the new Gaines Theater, located inside of the Freeman Center addition. This is the place where God, who began a good work at CNU through InterVarsity in past years, is carrying His work on to completion. Please pray with us that many are drawn to know Him through the relationships that are built in this place!
(Note: Thanks to student leader Nic Conde for use of these photos!)
*Names were changed.