Many people are talking about how the church is losing its witness to the world. They especially talk about how college students are turning away from faith. Here is my response.
Lynn and I recently visited the Auburn Community Church. Our two granddaughters, Healey Mathison and Catherine Parma, and grandson John Hixon all attend and are involved in that church.
ACC is only eight years old, but it has already gained the reputation of having as many college students attend worship as any church in America! They just moved to their new 17-acre campus with a worship center that seats 1,500, plus overflow rooms. They will have five services each weekend and each worship service will be packed!
The pastor is a dynamic young man named Miles Fidell. He breaks most of the rules for reaching college students because he preaches about fifty minutes at every service. He also insists that every person worshiping brings a Bible. He asks you to hold up the Bible. It’s an exciting thing to see 1,500 Bibles go up in the air!
When our grandchildren first wanted us to come to Auburn last year and worship with them, I didn’t have an opportunity on a Sunday morning. They said we could come on Sunday night. I was surprised that they had a Sunday night worship service. They said, “We have two. We suggest that you come to the five o’clock worship service because you don’t have to stand in line as long.”
Wow! Standing in line to get to a worship service on Sunday night! That was exciting! Their biggest problem for the future is space. In two months, they are quickly outgrowing their new facility!
The last Sunday of April was baptism Sunday. They baptized over 100 people that day! They had to baptize 25 at each worship service. Each person was given two minutes to tell “their story” about how the power of Jesus Christ changed their lives. In good taste, most of them testified about deliverance from such things as alcohol, pornography, suicide, sexual misconduct, drugs, loneliness, selfishness, etc. God used their transparency to connect, challenge, and inspire!
ACC has a remote campus in Birmingham. There were several girls from the Samford University girls’ soccer team who had driven to Auburn to be baptized. Most of their team members also came.
After each person gave “their story,” they were immersed. As each person came out of the water, there was a tremendous cheer—which might have exceeded the cheers in Jordan-Hare Stadium when Auburn scores a touchdown! It was a celebration!
Check out Auburn Community Church.com. When visiting Auburn, attend in person and you will be challenged and motivated by people of all ages carrying their Bibles, smiling, and welcoming you. (I had fourteen different people greet me–beginning in the parking lot) I guarantee you that you will not go to sleep during the service!
What’s the secret? Miles always lifts up Jesus, teaches the Bible, and prepares everything through prayer. JESUS WINS is printed in huge letters on the back wall that you see as you exit.