Aug. 3, 2012
For Immediate Release
By Christina L. Kern, office assistant
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.—Campbellsville University’s Church Relations Council learned about becoming a transformational church from the Rev. Rusty Ellison, pastor of Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville, at a meeting of the council August 2.
The Rev. Rusty Ellison
Ellison said “the transformational church is a process” and it brings “a fresh sense of vision and hope for the congregation.”
When Ellison was interim pastor at Walnut Street he conducted what he called the “Exodus.” In one service, he asked all members age 40 and over to leave the service and those under 40 to stay. There were about 20 members left in the church. He videoed the service and showed it later challenging the people and said, “This is the church in 10 years if we don’t pour out and make difficult changes.”
Ellison said, “Some many congregations are filled with the ‘Greatest Generation.’ Most churches are sustained by older adults, who are leaving everyday of our lives [in the form of funerals].”
The transformational church has “brought a fresh sense of hope to Walnut Street,” he said.
“Many think the greatest years for our church are ‘back yonder.’ Walnut Street was today’s Southeast Christian in the ’70s. Why would He be through with your church?”
Ellison said Walnut Street takes up three city blocks in Louisville. Many think that belongs to us, but “God gave us our resources. God cannot be through with our churches. We need to figure out how to bring vitality to our Kentucky churches.”
Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, also gave a campus update. He said, “We enjoy and appreciate our partnership with Kentucky Baptists. We are a servant institution with a servant heart.”
He quoted 1 Peter 3:15 “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Carter said, “I pray faculty, staff, coaches and students at CU can wear that proudly in terms of the hope that is in them.”
Carter also discussed how busy the campus has been this summer with seven Centri-Kid camps; 249 decisions were made for Christ this summer through camps on CU’s campus.
He also talked about the new online RN-to-BSN program and said Campbellsville University strives for there to “always be a presence of Christ in our students” when they go out into their field of work.
The council also heard brief updates from various parts of the campus including summer missions. Lauren Barr, a student who went to Niger, Africa this summer, said she plans to return as soon as she can. “My heart is still in the middle of Africa somewhere,” she said.
Ed Pavy, director of campus ministries, said CU is blessed to have Amazon.com in town which allows groups to wrap gifts at Christmas time as a fundraiser. CU signed up for and filled 300 four-hour shifts raising $30,000. “We have students who are willing to do hard work for an opportunity to share Jesus Christ,” Pavy said.
The Church Relations Council is comprised of pastors, other church staff and key lay leaders. They serve as an advisory capacity to the president and administration in maintaining closer relations with CU and area churches.
Chair of the Church Relations Council is the Rev. Jay Hatfield, director of missions, Central Baptist Association of Willisburg, Ky.; incoming chair for 2013 is Dr. Mike O’Neal, pastor of Hurstbourne Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.; and incoming chair-elect for 2013 is the Rev. Steve Sholar, pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church in Nicholasville, Ky.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs.