TTWO DAYS IS ALL IT TOOK for freshman Songwriting Major, Elijah Davis, to make a lasting impact on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University. On day two of freshman orientation—before upperclassmen had even arrived—Elijah had already co-founded a new music ministry on campus – by accident.
On the way back to their dorms from an IWU-sponsored activity, Elijah and a new-found friend grabbed their guitars and headed to the middle of campus to engage in a spontaneous worship session. Other students took note, and joined in.
By the time they struck the last chord, the sun was setting and over 50 students were gathered around singing. Some had even broken out their own instruments.
“Worship is not one thing…” Elijah Davis
The movement took off and these now regular jam sessions for the Lord are called God on the Green, a campus ministry that got its start with that one Spirit-driven impulse on the lawn.
“Being a part of God on the Green supplied my need for community I was searching for in my first few days of college,” says fellow IWU student Elizabeth Pound, adding “and helped unify the freshman class.”
God on the Green now has a team of eight students who help run the organization, complete with its own logo, hashtag, and Instagram account. With one of their social media taglines being “Worship is one of the most interactive ways we can dwell with the Lord,” the ministry’s goal is to get this majority Christian-raised student body to think outside the box of what worship can be, outside of a building, a set schedule and timeframe—that worship can happen anywhere, at any time, and can take on many different forms.
“I think what [these Christian students] are used to is going to church and sitting inside of a seat, listening to someone talk for thirty minutes and then leaving,” says Elijah. “And that’s something we’re just kind of all accustomed to. But worship is not one thing, and church is not just one subject. It’s this amazing abstract thing that Christ leaves us with.”
This Hope City Church member spent his senior year of high school interning in Mercy Road and Hope City’s temporarily blended middle and high school ministry called Mercy Students.
“He has an apostolic bent to him,” comments Mercy Road’s Next Generation Pastor, and one of Elijah’s mentors, Luke Edgerton. “He sees a vision and wants to start it. In that sense, he’s a bit fearless. He immediately jumped into his own ministry.”
Elijah’s love for creating music and his passion for pursuing a calling in worship arts, combined with the “confidence and know-how” he says he gained from his internship experience, is what helped transform God on the Green from what could have been just a special memory of an evening into a ministry for the long haul.