As pastor of The Well, a Christian Reformed Home Missions-supported church plant in Kelowna, British Columbia, Ron Vanden Brink sees his share of students. In fact, there are 30,000 of them at the nearby University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, so it’s not uncommon to see a few at Sunday worship.
But it’s rare that these students actually get plugged in and stay at The Well. College lasts only a few years, and then students leave. “Many do not connect with a local church, and new Christians do not know where to go,” says VandenBrink. “We want to introduce them to the church experience.”
That’s why The Well is helping to launch a new campus ministry at UBCO that will be tightly connected to the church. “Our dream is to have members of The Well and UBCO students work together on church and school projects,” says VandenBrink. “We want the students to rub shoulders with church members. We want to build relationships.”
Leading the new campus ministry will be Sam and Darcie Gutierrez, who both recently completed internships at the Home Missions-supported campus ministry at the University of Calgary in Alberta. Their challenge will be to locate a group of UBCO students who are willing to link with the new campus ministry and become leaders.
“While serving as an intern, I learned that there are many ways to impact a campus as large as this one,” Sam Guitierrez says. “There is a lot of room to be creative. . . . Students are at a crucial time in their lives and making decisions that will impact them for many years to come.”