Crossover college initiatives at UK try to reach searching generation

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) – Two uniquely different opportunities for students to hear the gospel will be available in November through the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Crossover initiatives on the campus of the University of Kentucky.

The Great Exchange, which has visited more than 30 college and university campuses, will be at UK on Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Led by Tom Rush, the Great Exchange comes from an angle that being confrontational as a means of gospel approach usually falls flat, but inquiring of people’s own beliefs opens doors.

Volunteers from the UK Baptist Campus Ministry will work alongside Rush and his team to allow people to open up about their spiritual backgrounds and understanding of God, Jesus and Christianity without confrontational comment. Then, after letting them speak, they ask to share the views of the gospel with them in a peaceful manner.

The other opportunity for college students is The Gathering at Manchester Music Hall, set for Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. It is a concert-style event featuring the music stylings of Stephen McWhirter as well as the powerful teaching of FCA leader Aaron Hogue.

Here’s a closer look at each event:

The Great Exchange with Tom Rush

The UK Baptist Campus Ministry students will be asked to survey students about their spiritual background and perception of God and Christianity. The intent of the survey is to unlock the door to genuine, calm, yet bold conversation about the gospel.

Many college students don’t have an accurate perception of the gospel. These conversations help break down those misunderstanding and foster curiosity for things of God.

Rush has seen – and heard - a little bit of everything in his unique ministry that chooses to offer opportunities for an open conversation. He recalls one interesting meeting with an agonistic student from the Bible Belt.

“There’s no way that’s in the Bible!” he exclaimed to Rush. “I thought the central message of Christianity is: Obey the commandments and God will let you into heaven.”

Rush was quick to calmly respond: “A lot of people think that. But look at Romans 3:20: ‘By the works of the law no human being will be justified in God’s sight.’ That means no one is saved by being good. Can I tell you what the gospel is?” The student was open to listen. These are the kinds of interactions the Great Exchange strives to initiate.

Danny Currie, Regional Campus Minister in Lexington, said the greatest need among college students is being part of “the gospel community. So many students suffer from loneliness and isolation. So many students are part of communities that tell them that their identity is in what they do and who their peers are.”

Currie said The Great Exchange will foster gospel community among students.

“We can’t just wait in our BCM building and hope students walk in. The Great Exchange is us going onto campus and engaging students with the gospel, praying and believing that students will respond to the gospel and then, in turn, grow within the context of our gospel-focused community.”

The event offers Christian college students an opportunity to share their faith openly while inviting unbelieving college students to engage in open dialogue about their beliefs.

The Gathering at Manchester Music Hall

The concert-style event will feature the talented McWhirter, whose journey out of meth addiction and into a passionate love for the gospel of Jesus Christ is evident in his music and testimony. He loves to speak of his conversion that look place in his room, with drugs beside him, reading The Case for Christ that a friend had given him.

“You can’t explain it, but you just know that you met with [God]. In that moment, I just cried out to God, I said, ‘God, I want to give you my life! I want to quit all this addiction and depression,’” McWhirter said.

Despite his desire to rid himself of a lifestyle he knew was sinful, he couldn’t do it. On a dark night he learned only God could free him. That same night, he went from “addiction to redemption” because of Christ, McWhirter says.

Currie believes McWhirter’s testimony will connect with students.

“We are praying that The Gathering will be the starting point for some students to be engaged with the gospel and then introduced to our community.”

The unique atmosphere of Manchester Music Hall gives students the opportunity to invite family and friends to enjoy music, testimony, and truthful teaching.

Despite the negative influences on college students in their pursuit of spiritual truth, The Great Exchange and The Gathering are two ways the Crossover initiative is being lived out in the Lexington area this fall.

“We’re making strong efforts to get out of our comfort zones and engage the campus,” Currie said. “We are expecting great things from God as we entrust our efforts into his control. I’m excited for the stories and testimonies that we be told as a result of these events. Please pray that God would draw the lost into conversations when we do The Great Exchange. And please pray that The Gathering would create ministry momentum through Lexington.”

For more information on these and other Crossover events visit kybaptist.org/Crossover.

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