—by Jeremy Purvis, ruling elder
Christ Community Church partners alongside many wonderful ministries on campus. Most of us are familiar with Cru and RUF, and love their emphasis upon evangelism and discipleship.
But recently I’ve also become excited about an organization on UNC campus called the North Carolina Study Center. The mission of the Study Center is to cultivate Christian life and thought at UNC. Situated on a beautiful historic estate in the middle of campus (“The Battle House”), the Study Center provides a way for UNC to know Christ’s love and truth thanks to the hospitality, thoughtfulness, and joy of the extended Christian community.
One reason I like the Study Center is because it is sort of like a spiritual oasis in a desert terrain. Universities can often feel like places where your faith needs to be checked at the door so that you can think objectively and rationally. This is not only flawed thinking but at odds with history. An innumerable number of great thinkers, from Pascal to Euler to Reimann, have all held the God of the Bible as central not only to their spiritual lives but also to their calling as academics. In the same way, I think the Study Center offers a place where students can be single-minded about their calling as students and their identity as Christians.
The study center also nurtures Christian thinking. For example, they often host conferences or guest speakers to stimulate the believing mind. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of gathering with Christian faculty from UNC, Duke, Elon, N.C. State, and Wake Forest to consider the doctrine of how we are made in the image of God. We prayed together, meditated on scripture, and brainstormed about ways to live out this doctrine within our vocations. These types of sponsored events provide a great encouragement to the faculty and students of the University.
Finally, the Study Center carries out the biblical principle of showing hospitality. Just last month, they served lunch to incoming students during move-in weekend. Over 1500 students were served! A team from CCC was involved in preparing the food, setting up tables, visiting with new students, and cleaning up afterward. As a church called to Chapel Hill, I hope that Christ Community Church can continue to partner with the NC Study Center. Our church has so many gifts for equipping and training, serving and stewardship. You don’t have to be faculty, student, or alumnus to get involved! As one of our volunteers said, “I just love working with students. They have so much life, and college is such a critical time in their lives.”
Alongside the local church and the wonderful campus ministries at UNC, the UNC Study Center layers another important dimension of Christian growth opportunity for students and faculty at UNC. You can learn more about the Study Center by speaking with me and by visiting their website: http://www.ncstudycenter.org/