I remember the early days of Chi Alpha in Minnesota when Mark Dean served as our regional SALT Conference director. My first event was in Albert Lea where less than 100 university students and staff gathered. We had an annual push to give to missions at that event. Mark was also in charge of our regional leaders gathering called LIGHT where I fondly remember the days when we were small enough to sit in a circle.
Fast forward to this year where those seeds of culture have grown. Pictured above is the recent regional staff gathering (LIGHT) where over 240 gathered to learn and be trained in effectiveness for ministry. Our SALT conferences have grown as well, expanding now to two conferences with a combined attendance of over 1,400 last year.
And what about that seed of missions giving? Well, the Great Plains region has continued what Mark started years ago. Over the past 10 years, students and staff have given over $261,000 at our annual events alone which is leading the nation.
For Chi Alpha in this area, I Corinthians 3:6 might look like this for us; “Mark planted the seed, I got to water it, but God has made it grow.”
As we look to the future, we aim to expand our reach into more campuses throughout the state and surrounding area. We’ve begun to strategically reach the private, community, and tech schools within our state.
We are also creating strategic partnerships in the area of global missions. Our 2020 SALT theme is “Reaching the World”. We believe university students may be the key for the next great awakening, so we are partnering with organizations like Live Dead to give students opportunities to serve a year overseas and then pray about a lifetime. Students will be exposed to missionaries from all around the world and be given the challenge to go. In Chi Alpha, our goal is that every student would take the opportunity to go on a missions trip during their college years.
Hundreds of students have already found Christ this past fall and we are thankful to the Minnesota District leadership and churches who have helped us be what we are today.