Student organizations at Mercer are technically not solely “student-run”; by Mercer’s standards you must have a campus advisor to be recognized as an organization.
A lack of a faculty advisor or campus staff has not deterred the students of Campus Outreach. Since Campus Outreach, a non-denominational campus ministry, is not allowed recognition as a campus ministry by Mercer’s Religious Life, Campus Outreach is truly a group for students and completely organized by students.
A nation-wide college ministry, Campus Outreach first came to Mercer in 2006. Due to a shortage of ministry staff and continued frustrations with gaining recognition as a campus organization, Campus Outreach has been completely student-led for the past year.
“Regardless of the situation at Mercer, the ministry is meant to be run by students,” said Amry Stanley, senior. “I think what makes it unique is the focus not on throwing a flashy meeting or having a lot of people show up, but learning how to take ownership of something and be committed to a vision much greater than four years in college.”
Junior David Newberry recognizes both benefits and hardships of not having staff or a faculty advisor in Campus Outreach. “Having to lead an organization as a student this year has been probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but it will stick with me for the rest of my life,” Newberry said. “It has taught me a lot about what leadership really means, and it has humbled me. There is no doubt that God has used this opportunity to teach me how to be a leader.”
Student leadership is not the only thing that makes this organization unique. The mission statement, “Glorifying God by building laborers on the campus for the lost world,” is demonstrated in a variety of ways.
Of course there are the usual things that come with a campus ministry — Bible studies, retreats, etc. — but Campus Outreach also offers unique summer activities aiming to achieve the goal of lifelong discipleship training.
Summer Beach Project (SBP) is a two-month training program in Daytona Beach, Fla. A summer at SBP consists of living in a beachfront hotel with one hundred plus other college students, working or volunteering full time during the day and training in different areas at night, such as studying the Bible or prayer.
Dana Marshall, sophomore, will be returning to Summer Beach Project for her second summer. “My first summer in Daytona at the Summer Beach Project was a great experience,” Marshall said. “I’m excited to see what this next summer will have in store.”
Another summer opportunity is the Cross Cultural Project, a summer-long mission trip in a foreign country like South Africa, Malaysia or Singapore.
Junior Jacqueline Gilbert will be going to Singapore this summer. She said, “I am really excited. I know it will be a wonderful time to experience a new culture and venture to the other side of the world. This summer will be a fun experience where I will grow personally in both my faith and worldview.”
Campus Outreach has three weekly events open to all students at Mercer: Prayer and Praise, Sunday at 9:30; Girl’s Bible Study, Thursdays at 9:15 p.m.; and Boy’s Bible Study, Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m.