Submitted by Michaela Lawrence Jeffrey
It is exciting to see how students come together with local support to develop into an Adventist Christian Fellowship (ACF) chapter on their campus. The chapter at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga., became an official student organization on August 23, 2016. Here’s an interview with Ashley Burrows, ACF president.
Q. For those unfamiliar with Georgia Southern, how would you describe your campus?
A. Georgia Southern is the heart of Statesboro, a small town in southeast Georgia. The campus has something for all — scenery, school spirit, many activities, and great academic programs. Some regular events include drive-in movie nights, fitness challenges, intramural sports, professional growth seminars, and concerts.
Q. When did you start planning to become an ACF chapter?
A. I decided about a year ago (Fall 2015). A group of young adults had been meeting for a few years on Friday nights for Bible study, and as the main leader graduated, I decided to take on the role of having weekly meetings. Over time, we all expressed the desire to become an organization in order to have access to advertising, recruitment, and monetary support from the school. Major plans began Spring 2016, and in a few months we were ready to officially apply.
Q. What factors helped you develop?
A. The support of our local church here in Statesboro and the commitment of other young people that I now call friends contributed to the development of the organization. In addition, I believe God played a major role. There was a time when we did not even have enough people, according to the school’s guidelines for officers and initial members, to start a club, and in no time that issue was fixed. We also got the opportunity to attend an ACF leadership conference at Cohutta Springs in 2015 that opened the door for us to network and receive advice.
Q. What was particularly challenging about the process?
A. The process was not particularly challenging. I would say that the challenge began after receiving confirmation from the school. Major concerns are recruitment and retention of members.
Q. Do you have any sense of how many Adventist students there are at Georgia Southern?
A. No. We have a handful of regular members, but we know that there are so many more. Students have expressed knowing of others who are from their home churches that they see around campus, but even then we’re sure that is only a fraction of the number.
Q. What are some of your hopes for the chapter?
A. Our mission is to provide a community for students who wish to fellowship as they learn more about Jesus, and spread the news of His second coming to our community at Georgia Southern and in Statesboro. We would like to see the chapter double in number within the first year, and continue to grow over the upcoming years.
Q. How have you already seen God at work through your chapter?
A. Since I’ve been at Georgia Southern, someone asks each semester what we’ll do when a particular person leaves. My answer is always that God will send someone. Thus far, He has, and I know He will provide again when a few of the officers graduate in May.
Georgia Southern’s ACF chapter has a few key components: the group is connected to its campus (versus existing unto itself), it has an involved faculty/staff advisor, and it has an active relationship with a local church. Where these components exists, healthy community is fostered and the group is likely to thrive.
Chapters serve as invaluable sources of social and spiritual support to students, as well as providing opportunities for outreach. If you are a student at Georgia Southern, don’t hesitate to connect to the ACF chapter there: www.acfgcc.org/georgiasouthern.
Please pray not only for this chapter, but for every chapter across the Southern Union as God reveals His love through the students on their campuses. Contact the following regional leaders for information about public campus ministry:
Carolina — Eddie Cornejo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Georgia-Cumberland — Michaela Lawrence Jeffery, email@example.com
Florida — Angelo Grasso, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kentucky-Tennessee — Nelson Silva, email@example.com
South Central — Lola Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org
Georgia-Cumberland | December 2016