Faith Point Fellowship is a place where people can critically engage Scripture and culture
July 12, 2018
At any given weekly meal and Bible study, or monthly worship at Faith Point Fellowship in Greensboro, North Carolina, the full scope of humanity is represented.
- 40,000 college students were within a 15-mile radius of the church — 11,000 were within walking distance.
- African Americans (approximately 2–3 percent) are underrepresented in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
- African-American young adults are even more underrepresented.
Saint James began asking how they might reach a new generation of believers, by connecting with the college students who lived all around them.
In 2010, under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, the church hired a campus minister and interns who functioned as evangelists and connectors on the five nearby campuses.
The campus ministry launched a new monthly worship service, Friday Fire, which averaged 50 participants. By 2015, 23 young adults had made formal membership commitments to Saint James. Four were baptized.
During those years, the campus ministry became a new worshiping community. Increasingly it became known as a place where people could engage critically with Scripture and culture at their weekly meal and Soul Food Bible study conversations, and at their monthly Thirsty Thursday worship service.
Those who came might never set foot in a more traditional church.
But at Faith Point — the atheist, the believer, the disappointed by church and even the gang member — can learn, worship and serve together.
“One young man described himself as having ‘a hard life on the streets,’” said the Rev. Eustacia Moffett Marshall, Faith Point’s pastor.
“He spoke about how he didn’t feel judged by Faith Point and that God was changing his life through our ministry.”
While his story is different than her own, Moffett Marshall believes it is through hearing different experiences that God sharpens human beings and their faith — as they learn together about God’s grace and love.
She credits her mother, Diane, as being the most influential person in her faith formation. It goes all the way back to when she was 6 years old, watching and listening to her mom in her first call at Elmhurst Presbyterian Church in Oakland, California.
“Even at 6, I somehow knew that we were in church a lot, because the gospel of Jesus Christ was changing people’s lives,” said Moffett Marshall.
“I began to want to know ‘Who is this God?’ that my mom was so passionately preaching about.”
Looking back on what she felt and saw as a child, through the lens of what she knows now as a pastor, Moffett Marshall tears up when asked to describe the most influential person in her faith life.
“My mom, she’s the truth, the way she carries her life,” said Moffett Marshall. “I have no memory of her ever coming home and talking bad about people. She gave me a deep curiosity for God. It’s how I came to my own relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Recognizing that there is a real hunger problem for college students, the worshiping community has a benevolence fund to help students in need buy groceries. They serve free hot meals on Thursday evenings before their Bible study. They also participate in Saint James’ Message and a Meal outreach program partnership with Cone Health, which gives students an opportunity on Sunday afternoons to serve a meal to community residents in need — and receive a meal themselves.
“I believe the church is the vehicle for God’s work in the world,” Moffett Marshall said. “As ambassadors of love and justice, we represent the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Paul Seebeck, Mission Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: 1001 New Worshiping Community
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
God, we pray that we may discover Jesus Christ in the face of every stranger; that we may know through your Holy Spirit that love eternal that is the essence of your character and the true end of our humanity. Amen.