Over three years ago, unknown to us, a group of faculty members at the Georgian College campus in Barrie, Ontario, began to meet and pray for campus workers to minister to students. They called out to God to fill a need, and He responded.
I (Jeff) was settled into a career but, in the midst of COVID, lost my job. Over those same months, every time we drove by Georgian College we felt burdened by the thousands of students it represented.
In November 2020, we launched the Net: a campus ministry focused on serving college and university students in Barrie, Orillia and surrounding areas.
We can honestly say that the first year was a rollercoaster ride as we listened to what God was telling us to do and then put those things into action. We began by connecting with students one-on-one. As the ministry grew, we started online Bible study groups, monthly worship nights, house church and regular social events.
In all of this, God placed a burden on our hearts to meet needs in tangible ways. Safe housing was one of the first needs brought to our attention. We had no clue that many of our students, especially international students, are often the target for over-priced housing, cramped spaces and dangerously unsafe living conditions. Through the help of our team, we have been able to see students moved to safety or have living arrangement issues addressed to make their homes safer.
Through these situations, we realized that there was a lack of knowledge about safety. In June 2021, we hosted a forum on human trafficking and brought in a guest speaker to educate and empower students. It was an eye-opening event, and we feel strongly that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
There are thousands of students from all over the world on our doorstep. There’s a lot of ground to cover, but God keeps opening doors and proving His faithfulness as we move forward.
We are so thankful for the consistent prayers from our supporters and that loyal group of faculty whom we now join with weekly to pray for the students. Three years ago they called out to God, and we believe that they are the reason we are here. How much more will God do when more voices gather in prayer to see a movement sweep through Georgian College and Lakehead University for students to commit their lives to Jesus and share the good news?
The Net is part of the New Churches Network in the Western Ontario District. Since its formation in 2017, the New Churches Network has seen 50 new churches experience their starting point.
Photo courtesy of the Net.
To see previously posted “This is Good News” stories, please click here.
To view or download posted “This is Good News” videos, visit www.paoc.org/theloop.