At San Diego State God has called us not just to our campus, but to specifically reach those who seem unreachable or the furthest from God. College students already fit this bill just by being a college student. But when you get toward the single moms, the disabled, the international student, or the LGBTQ community, they can be marginalized not just by religion but by the rest of their campus as well. For this reason, we’ve tried to be intentional from the very beginning about the kind of people that we welcome at Chi Alpha, the kind of people we want to reach out to, and the fact that we are all sinners saved by grace in need of encounter with Jesus despite our sin or distance from God.
One way we tried to be intentional this summer was through partnering with a local Assemblies of God church in the heart of Hillcrest, the center of the LGBTQ community in San Diego. For years, their church has been at the starting point of the San Diego’s Gay Pride parade which many community groups, including San Diego State, participates in annually. For 17 years Hope Restored Church has opened their doors to members of the parade to use their restrooms, get free water, or come in from the heat and sit in the air conditioning. Often times they have been yelled at by both sides, gays who don’t want their presence in their community, and Christians who don’t want the church to be validating sin. Yet, Hope Restored Church has continued opening its doors to people who need Jesus and being a loving presence in their community. So on July 18, Chi alpha led worship for 5 hours as people came in not from the heat, but to escape the rain! Sometimes, no one was there or listening except God. Other times there were 30 people many of whom we could see singing along, or being moved to tears. One person even chose to give their lives fully to Jesus right then and there coming down to the altar with Kendra to pray! Not only did God sow seeds in the Hillcrest and LGBTQ community but in our hearts. We learned God’s heart for those we often think are furthest from God who are forgotten by those more concerned about right “worship” than right practice (as if right worship can be separate from right practice (Isaiah 1, 58, etc.).
Jesus was constantly having meals with the outcast. He was often found touching the untouchable (i.e. - lepers, the woman with the issue of blood).He was questioned over and over again about this scandalous practice by the religious leaders of his day. For instance in Matthew 9 the author relates that
“As he (Jesus) sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
Here are some pictures and quotes about what God did that were posted by students and the local pastors on Facebook:
Pastor Ronald Magno
San Diego Gay Pride Parade outreach. Chi Alpha Worship Team was awesome. They played for about 3 hours with barely anybody coming in. THEN the lightning, thunder and rain came pouring down. People were forced to take refuge inside the lobby. Then some came inside and sat. A man came to the altar weeping and accepted The Lord. Many were blessed and told us that they didn't even know how they ended up in the church. All these happened while the team continued to play praise and worship songs for about 2 more hours. Only God can do something so amazing and wonderful. Thank you all for your prayers!!!
Brandon Kertson - Kendra praying for someone who wanted to give their life to Christ at the Gay Pride Parade today while our Chi Alpha group was leading worship
Jack M SampierIt was an absolutely incredible day as God poured out both the rain from the heavens driving people inside, then poured out His Spirit and touched many lives. In the 17 years Hope Restored church has opened their doors on Parade day this was one of the most visibly productive. His Presence was Awesome! Thanks Chi Alpha for being a channel for our Awesome God!
Keeping Up With the Kertsons
Brandon and Kendra went to the national Campus Ministries Conference for Chi Alpha with over 750 campus missionaries from around the country. What a week of worship, connecting, and being equipped.
Peyton, Amber and Eden spent a week up at their Nana and Papa’s house going to Vacation Bible School, swimming, late nights, and getting spoiled.
We’ve been enjoying summer going to the beach and seeing new things around San Diego.
Pray for a quick resolution to getting Chi Alpha as a recognized student group on campus. We are specifically praying we will be approved by the time freshman arrive August 21.
We are looking for any extra sound equipment people or churches might be able to donate or sell us used including microphones (including a lapel mic), microphone cables, direct boxes, music stands, a 12+ channel sound board, and a keyboard.
We are excited about some of the events we are planning, like our freshman mugging and our welcome back bbq. If you, your small group or your church would like to join us for one of these outreaches or you’d like us to create one just for your group to help us reach students and promote Chi Alpha on campus, email us using the “email” button below!