Believe it or not Bearkats, not every student does keg-stands on Thursday nights. In fact, many students prefer quite the opposite. Attendance at on-campus Christian fellowship groups is slowly on the rise, which proves many students seem to favor this atmosphere instead of the local club scene.
With numbers on the rise, it leaves you to wonder if today’s society is starting to calm down and wonder, “What’s important?” We at The Houstonian would like to give you a closer look at SHSU religious organizations and get the word out on exactly what they offer.
First up is the wildly popular Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. You might recognize this name because the fellowship group has 350 plus members and meets in the Lowman Student Center on Thursday nights.
Tanya James, an intern with the Christian group, said students can expect a good time at Chi Alpha events.
“Chi Alpha is a place where students can come and meet Jesus in an exciting atmosphere and experience Jesus with 350 exciting Christian students,” James said.
James said Chi Alpha offers an atmosphere that is unique and different from other religious activities.
“You get the small family feeling through small groups but also have the large audience at fellowship time,” she said. “The purpose of Chi Alpha is to reconcile students to Christ; transform the university, marketplace and the world through reaching students. We try to reach the world through Christ.”
Whatever the reason, Chi Alpha continues to be the largest Christian based fellowship on campus.
Next up is the popular Church of Christ Student Center. The Church of Christ holds a service from 8 to 10 p.m. on Thursday night. With its numbers on the rise, the Church of Christ shows no signs of slowing down.
Finding out about the Church of Christ is not hard, because campus minister Barry Pritchard runs the easily accessible student center.
Pritchard said the student center offers a variety of activities for students to take part in.
“We have free pizza from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and a discussion with class interaction from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.,” he said. “We offer this as an alternative to the party-scene, obviously it’s not the only reason, but you could do a Bible study at anytime. This gives students a safe place to go where they do not have to worry about drugs or alcohol and can come and experience Christ in a friendly environment.”
Not only does the Church of Christ Student Center offer Thursday night services, the center also opens its doors to everyone giving them a home away from home.
With a friendly atmosphere and many friendly people surrounding the establishment, it is easy to understand why the center is so popular.
The Church of Christ is not the only place located on “The Hill.” The Baptist Student Ministries is located next to the former Paw Print food court. The BSM uses its Thursday night program, “Journey,” to reach out to students in Huntsville.
Jeff Kennon, director at the BSM, said “Journey” has a lot to offer students who are looking for a place to worship among their peers.
“‘Journey’ is a Bible study and worship time that has a student led band,” Kennon said. “It is open to everybody, so you do not have to be a Baptist. We discuss various topics from what it means to be a Christian to dealing with hurt.”
Kennon said the BSM has specific goals for how it wants to affect students’ lives.
“We want to provide an atmosphere for students to establish a relationship with Christ and grow in their relationship with God,” he said.
Kennon said the staff and students at the BSM are always welcoming more students to join them for the “Journey” events.
“We pray for student body growth, to take this worship service to different places around campus,” he said.
The BSM has experienced over 10 years in residence at SHSU, and with wonderful new programs, the organization plans to be here for a long time.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Methodist Student Center, located in the Wesley Foundation next to Belvin Hall. The MSC offers many things to students wanting to get to know Jesus Christ, and the center presents programs on Thursdays at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The MSC’s programs include an informal prayer group at 6 p.m. and at 7 p.m. they “Meet at the Wesley” for movies and games.
Max Adams, campus minister, runs the Methodist Student Center and said the goal of the center is to help students with their spiritual growth.
“Our goal is to help students grow in their faith through Jesus Christ,” Adams said. “It’s the student’s home away from home, and through the Bible studies we try to obtain a family atmosphere.”
The MSC changes its ideas every semester in order to keep the services fresh and exciting.
Students who visit the MSC for the Thursday night service seem to agree.
“I enjoy it, it’s a deep service,” student Danielle Bell said.
As you can see, if it’s religion you want, Sam Houston has got you covered. No matter what entertains you, there is an outlet for everyone and the religious organizations are here for everyone’s benefit.
Despite what some people may say, there are alternatives to partying all the time. If you are interested in any of these services, I strongly suggest you check them out!