Community church’s college outreach focuses on growth through small groups
With café-style tables, a coffee bar and colorful lighting, the loft of Mount Pleasant Community Church becomes populated every Tuesday night with college students.
They come together for UNite, a program of MPCC’s ULife outreach, and meet in the church for worship and small-group Bible study at 8 p.m. Tuesdays. Shepherd resident and small-group leader MacKenzie Sheahan said the ULife program started about four years ago when she and her husband, Director of College Ministry Mitch Sheahan, began hosting a Bible study for a group of college students at their house.
“Eventually we grew enough to start having weekly UNite meetings here in the church,” MacKenzie said.
The attendance at each week’s UNite is now around 60 students, coming from both Central Michigan University and Mid Michigan Community College.
The night begins with announcements such as the dates for the group’s upcoming spring break trip, as well as ULife’s monthly luncheon. From there, the group moves on to sing several worship songs led by a praise band before splitting off into small groups.
“Small groups are the bread and butter of our program,” Mitch said. “When students come together to share what God’s doing in their lives, big growth happens.”
The small groups usually base their theme around the sermon in church on the previous Sunday and tailor group questions based on each group’s needs, Mitch said. Right now, the small groups are focusing on the stories of various figures of the Old Testament, such as David, Moses and Eve.
Muskegon freshman Felicia McCrary, who sings in ULife’s praise band, said she chose the church and its programs after researching area churches online last semester.
“Church is a big part of my life and it was important for me to make the right decision,” McCrary said. “Having such a multigenerational church is what got me to stay.”
Onsted freshman Lyndsey Griffin said she learned about MPCC and the ULife program through her older brother, but it was the church’s friendly atmosphere that convinced her to continue attending.
“Everyone just reaches out to you,” Griffin said. “It’s like family.”
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