With the start of the winter 2021 semester, Cultivate launched their winter course titled: running a ministry 101. The course was designed to equip ministry leaders with the skills needed to start or revamp their ministries. Vinny Conforti, A junior at Oakland University, attended the class with the hope of helping his church start a young adult ministry. Vinny’s dream started in the summer of 2020 when he started hosting small groups for his church at his house every Friday night.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Noah for the past couple of years. Noah is a junior at Oakland University studying Communication. He joined Cultivate in the winter of 2019 and has grown immensely in the faith since. Noah’s faith was young when he joined Cultivate, in fact he gave his life to Christ a week before joining. Despite being so young in the faith, Noah’s heart for the Lord and his desire to pursue God has helped Noah to mature greatly in the faith and as a leader.
Nicole is a sophomore at Oakland University pursuing a communications degree and a digital filmmaking minor. Nicole is heavily involved on campus, from being a track athlete to attending and leading two campus ministries. Nicole started her journey in Cultivate in the summer of 2019. Since joining Nicole has grown remarkably in her spiritual maturity and leadership skills. Nicole is now using her gifts to revive a campus ministry at Oakland University called Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
Hunter is a junior at Oakland University studying pre-physical therapy. Hunter joined Cultivate’s process in the spring of 2019 and has grown tremendously in his faith and as a leader since joining. When Hunter began the Cultivate process, he thought that he was “close” to God, but what unaware of the intimacy that could have with the Father. As a freshman Hunter spottily attended Younglife, a campus ministry at Oakland University designed to help people experience the Lord.
Rachel is a senior at Oakland University studying pre-physical therapy. She joined the Cultivate process in the spring of 2016, and since has grown tremendously in her faith. When Rachel began the Cultivate process her faith was young and not her own, but the product of the way she was raised. Rachel had a strong desire to grow in her relationship with God, but lacked the tools and guidance needed to become an effective kingdom worker.
Blake Pokley is a senior at Oakland University. This is a story he wrote to inspire others to help someone he found in need. This story is a beautiful example of seeing people through the eyes of Christ, and the power of deep friendships between kingdom workers like Blake, Phill, and Kyle.On my way to work Wednesday, I was on Baldwin Road in Lake Orion and traffic was backed up. We were going about 10 mph and would stop intermittently (but, I’m sure you all know how traffic back-ups work).
Justin arrived at Oakland from Beijing in the fall of 2014 as a Master’s student in Computer Science. Like many international students, he did not have friends, family, or familiar faces greeting him as he arrived. He knew a place where he could live with a roommate, but beyond that, he did not have anything more than the clothes in his suitcase. This same fall semester that Justin arrived, Cultivate was working to find ways to serve incoming international students at Oakland University.
Kyle came to Oakland as a transfer student in fall of 2016, following two years of college athletics at a Christian college. Kyle knew a handful of Christian friends at Oakland, but didn’t have a direction for his faith in relation to his campus. He was drawn to Cultivate’s desire to develop kingdom workers, and he entered the Cultivate process about 3 week into his first semester at Oakland. As part of his first semester within Cultivate, Kyle joined a men’s group, went to a weekly class designed to deepen his understanding of faith topics, met one on one with a mentor, and surveyed the opportunities available through campus organizations and ministries that would help grow God’s Kingdom.
Identity Formation (Before High School): DC grew up in a suburban, white, Catholic family. But, it was clear that church was about religion and not relationship and his parents divorced when he was 7. He was the third of three siblings and his relationship with his old brother grew increasingly hostile after the divorce. Though he knew his parents loved him and both remained present in his life, his father often seemed to put work first and wasn’t always able to his kids.
Kelly started with Cultivate in its first semester in 2013 as a freshman at Oakland. Coming from a missionary family, Kelly knew a lot about her faith, the bible, and the importance of reaching out. However, even with an incredible family, she still had her obstacles to overcome. A fear of missing out on God’s promptings for her life was one such obstacle. As a successful student-athlete in high school, Kelly had a plan and direction for her life, but she was afraid of one day waking up and thinking she had missed or left God’s plan some place in the distant past.