Photo: K. Wiebelhaus
By Lindi Riley
Brandon Jergensen found himself standing outside of the Nebraska Student Union last September listening to evangelists preach on campus to those walking by. Often times, students consider these people to be crazy or a nuisance when walking to class, but Jergensen was genuinely interested in what one gentleman had to say, staying for a while to have a conversation.
It was not long after this interaction that he decided to get involved in The Rock, a college ministry group through Candlewood Church. A junior chemistry major, Jergensen is now one of seven leaders of The Rock. As a leader of the college group, it is his responsibility to meet with other men one-on-one to go through bible studies and the gospel, as well as to help guide new members.
“Brandon is a stud and I appreciate his drive for Jesus,” said Mike Whitney, Candlewood’s pastor in Lincoln. “He is a great leader, and his role in The Rock has been critical to what God is doing with the young men.”
Each week, members of The Rock join together for a service on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. Often a pastor from Candlewood or a sister church give a sermon to the members. But The Rock isn’t just a one-night-a-week group.
“We have hang outs on Friday nights, everyone gets together and goes to the pumpkin patch, movies, ice skating or something like that,” Jergensen said of what kinds of things members of The Rock do together. “We also typically have lunches together on Sundays and have Small Group meetings of maybe 10 to 15 of us to just talk to each other and go through a bible study.”
The Rock has become much more than a college ministry, but a place where students can come together to grow in their faith, spend time with one another, and develop genuine friendships.
“Typically, if people start coming to our meetings on Wednesdays, they decide pretty quickly if they like it or not,” Jergensen said. “If they don’t, they usually just move on. But, if they do, it really is just like hanging out with your friends.”
Students are recruited to The Rock in two main ways. The most common is current members build relationships with students on campus. They create friendships with peers in their classes or other organizations and extend an invitation to participate in The Rock’s activities.
The Rock has seen significant growth recently, becoming one of the largest groups at Candlewood Church. Jergensen credits this growth to having a lot of relationally strong people with good character in the group. These are people who are reading their bibles every day, praying every day, doing service, and sharing the gospel. A strong and passionate mix of people has allowed The Rock to flourish and will leave a ton of opportunity for future leaders.
“I love the direction that The Rock has gone since I have been a part of it, and I truly believe this organization will be expanding greatly in the coming days if that continues to be God’s will,” Jergensen said.