It’s 2:00 AM, and the sounds of college students are still rumbling through the house. Some are playing a game, some are laughing together as they chat, and all are enjoying the freedom that comes from no class the next morning. Eventually, the group will dwindle down to a few stubborn stragglers who keep talking, while the rest collapse and get a few hours of sleep before the next day of the Tenth College Fellowship Winter Retreat.
Tenth College Fellowship (TCF) is Tenth Church’s ministry to the many undergraduate campuses scattered around Philadelphia. All throughout the week, students join from the various campuses to study the Bible and enjoy different events with one another. Recently, many TCF students traveled up to Lake Wallenpaupak together to spend a couple days having fun, eating, singing, and talking about the book of Zephaniah.
Perhaps one of my greatest joys since moving to Philadelphia this past summer has been watching these students consistently make decisions to commit themselves to church. They wake up early on Sunday mornings to attend two services worth of church activities, they sacrifice valuable homework time to study Scripture with one another throughout the week, and they stay up late playing games and talking with one another on retreats as they build and strengthen their relationships with their Christian brothers and sisters.
This commitment has borne fruit outside of the church community, as our students have shown extraordinary courage and consistency in their witness to non-believing friends and peers. Within the last few months, I have had two conversations with students who attend TCF, but who are open about their unbelief at this point in their lives. When asked why they continue to attend TCF and Tenth, their answer was simple. The community that they have experienced is too attractive to leave. Our students’ commitment to their church community is actively forming their witness to their peers who do not follow Christ yet.
TCF is currently studying the book of Zephaniah on Sunday mornings. Zephaniah 3:9,10 says this:
For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples
to a pure speech,
that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD
and serve him with one accord.
From beyond the rivers of Cush
my worshipers, the daughter of my dispersed ones,
shall bring my offering.
The image Zephaniah gives us is of God’s people worshiping him while dispersed throughout the world. That worship, as verse 9 says, will help usher in a time when all peoples serve the Lord with a pure speech. I see this taking place in the lives of our college students. Their worship has given them a strong witness to the world around them, and the world has noticed it.
We are grateful for your continued prayers for TCF. Our students face many challenges as they navigate college life as followers of Christ. However, we are encouraged by the reminder that the Lord is drawing to himself a people of pure speech who will serve him with one accord. I know I can speak on behalf of our students in thanking the church for those prayers and ongoing care and support.