Elise Arsenault | Reporter
When the Crown Team gathered to discern what should be on this month’s front page, we kept coming up dry. Though the articles at hand were meaningful and interesting, we found no consensus on which headline should be the first.
Then, with an unnervingly slim amount of time left before publication, an idea came. Though it’s an exciting one, the hope is that it’s not news, per se.
Jesus has been moving on our campus! Throughout uncertain, insecure, and wholly tragic times this year, he’s been making himself known in powerful ways. Revelation 12:11 says that we overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [our] testimony.” Just as we are set free through Christ’s blood, we can experience freedom by spreading word of God’s faithfulness.
It is with this truth in mind, that we’ve asked students and faculty to share times they’ve seen the Spirit move on campus this year. Our hope is that these words would encourage you and kindle nostalgic conversations by the mailboxes, in the faculty lounge, and around dorm-dinner tables. Unearth your own stories, and share them knowing that God delights in retrospection — and he’s stoked to prove himself faithful.
“What I’ve noticed with Redeemer is how incredible the students are, and how incredibly God works through them. I once read a book called ‘The Trellis and the Vine’ by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. It explains that all ministry needs structure to grow. The staff and faculty form Redeemer’s Trellis, creating a structure for students to grow spiritually — like a vine. A vine will never grow greater than its trellis unless God is radically at work. Some call this idea a ‘revival. Redeemer's students are outgrowing the trellis, and through the students being faithful to His call, He’s starting a sort of ‘revival’ — where instead of waiting for the trellis to be built, He’s inspiring students to grow the school’s vine and worry about the trellis later. An example of this is Church in the Box. The initiative came from a simple idea to start meeting once a month in the Black Box, and it’s now a city-wide event attended by people from all traditions, both inside and outside of the school. It will not surprise me when other student-led programs follow in this way.” — Jonathan DuHamel
“The way I’ve seen God the most this year has been through people — plain and simple. My dorm was a combination of left-over second-year girls, which seemed so random at first. Now I know it was a complete God-thing, since we were meant to meet. It was that way with so many people this year — I know I was meant to hear their story. It must be because of God.” — Maggie DeBruyn
“God has been working on campus this year in some real and powerful ways. I think specifically of our worship night, where it was encouraged to break off into groups for communal prayer. So much prayer went into that service, and we had no idea if it would be received well at all. But when I was able to look out over the auditorium and see groups of people spread all around the room in prayer with each other, some crying, some laying hands on others, I couldn’t help but sense the Spirit being overwhelmingly present in the room. He had bigger plans for that night and for this campus than we could ever attempt to plan or implement. I have continued to grow deeper in love with God since that night, but I have also seen how other’s lives have been changed because the Spirit was present. That image of our community gathering together in prayer, sharing our joys and our tears, was an image of God’s kingdom.” — Janelle Sennema
“Being at Redeemer has shown me the darkness of this world by seeing the light wash it away. I’ve seen this in the way God has been working through people devoted to him. This world is empty and I have been so clearly shown the fulfilment that a life lived radically for God can give. He’s showing me I can’t do that on my own strength. I fail daily, and will continue to fail, but He shows me the way again. But a day lived in His arms is a triumphant celebration and leaning fully on him is the only way for us to be the real deal. Being at Redeemer has shown me what true radical living looks like, and that I can’t do it on my own.” — Anonymous
“It has been so life-giving to connect with students this past year. From those who have dropped in to the office to share a moment, to those quick hallway chats, to the scheduled one-on-one conversations, my life has been enriched by seeing God in your lives. There was one week earlier this semester that I was feeling particularly weary in spirit. But as I walked down the hallway to leave that day, several students simply said ‘Hi Deb.’ It lightened my soul and made my heart glad. I thank God for revealing himself through many here at Redeemer." — Deb Roberts
“One of the main ways I have seen the Spirit working this year (especially this semester) is by people praying around, with, and for each other. I have been learning so much about the power of prayer and how incredibly blessed we are to find ourselves in an environment that not only doesn't look down on communal prayer but actually encourages it. One of my favourite parts of this semester has been this extra time that has been planned to gather and just spend time in worship. By having these opportunities where we set apart time to spend with the Lord together and truly focus on Him, He has so many blessings to give those who seek Him and dwell in His presence. The Worship Night the CITB put on back in March was an incredible time for me personally but also to see the Spirit moving throughout the whole community. Anyone at the service was unable to deny the presence of the Lord, and the opportunity to pray for others and have others pray over me was so healing, refreshing, and encouraging. From my little bench behind the piano, I love seeing the Spirit move through people praying over each other and seeing God soften people's hearts and call them to rest in His presence. It's incredible to see the freedom that can be found in true worship and to experience His presence through music. If this is just a glimpse of what is to come, then keep it coming, Jesus!” — Lauren Tamming
“We’ve been talking about how worship is not just about music, but about worshipping God in our daily lives — in everything we do. More conversations in the halls have been about God. You’ll mention something you’ve read, and suddenly you’re having a heart-to-heart conversation over lunch. It’s become more comfortable. I feel like the organized worship events help to re-centre yourself and get focused on God again — but then it’s about your daily life reflecting the godly stuff too. That’s been really big for our group of friends.”
“We’ve been meeting for five weeks, going through this video series by Jeff Bethke. On top of that, we were reading 1 Thessalonians, and then we’ll go on to the next book in the New Testament. We’ll highlight what sticks out to us and talk about it.”
“There were ten of us last week, and we spoke for two and a half hours. It was awesome! Every verse took forever to go through, because we all had so much to share. We all challenged each other, and went deep with what we read.”
“We’ve grown more comfortable praying out loud and for others. We’ve been practicing and encouraging each other that way. Though prayer can be personal, something more happens when you pray with others — like that verse about ‘where two or three gathered, [God is] there among them’ — we’ve felt just that.”
— A group of 1st year students during their Bible study