On Sept. 13 Woodlawn Christian Church launched The Pursuit, a Bible study directed at attracting 19-35 year-olds.
The group’s mission is to bridge the gap between generations by having participants studying the Word of God together.
This rare opportunity gives each generation the chance to learn from each other on equal ground.
“[My wife] Kathy and I had worked with the college age group at UT for…38 years.” Sam Darden, a member of WCC, and founding father of, The Pursuit said. “When we retired and looked around in Knoxville…it really occurred to me that we needed to do something with [the 19-35] age group.”
Darden said he looked into such groups, and that churches, including WCC, were simply not providing outlets for communal spiritual growth to this age group.
Soon after, the Dardens formed a task-force with other members of WCC. The members of the group shared the Darden’s concerns, and immediately began to plan how they were going to fix this problem.
“We realized that we could do something to help,” Darden said. “And that’s how The Pursuit came into being.”
The nature of the Bible study’s schedule always leaves opportunity for change, but a typical session of The Pursuit begins with a time of prayer and a brief message given by a guest speaker.
So far The Pursuit has featured Darden, Ron Wheeler, Stan McDaniel, April Kilinski and Rick Beam as speakers. Each have brought something new to the discussion tables.
Following the message is a time of worship, which is normally led by Oren Ambielli and a group of other volunteers.
After that comes the most important part of the night: Discussion time.
It is at this time that the older generation volunteers take their seats at the tables among the students.
It is a time of reflection, contemplation and exploration of scripture that benefits both generations by introducing cross-generational ideas.
“It’s not gonna be easy,” Darden said. “[The 19-35 age group] is extremely hard to reach [and] we came in knowing that. I think we are doing good work in terms of Discipleship, [but] I don’t think we have touched the hem of the garment yet, in terms of outreach.”
Darden said that though he is satisfied with the work that has already been done spiritually in The Pursuit, he would really like to see the area of South Knoxville better reached and added to the fold.
This provides a great opportunity for Johnson students who are interested in testing out what they have learned and are learning in real life.
“The ministry is young, and needs people that represent the targeted people to take action in leadership, and that is why I am involved.” Jonathan Tibbetts, a Johnson senior and volunteer at The Pursuit said. “Although my responsibilities in The Pursuit do put more on my plate, I am at least taking what I have learned and putting it into action. It is better than being glued to a laptop.”
So whether you are wanting to test the waters of outreach or simply want to grow in your faith, The Pursuit invites you.
The Pursuit meets every Sunday from 8:-9 p.m. at Woodlawn Christian Church. They are also on FaceBook.