God glorified at U of Mizzou
Evangelistic event in heart of campus draws 1,200
By Allen Palmeri
February 22, 2005
COLUMBIA – They may not have a name, but they have eyewitnessed the power and grace of God in ways never imagined.
For example, “The Bible Study with No Name” members are praising God that at least 1,200 University of Missouri students heard the Gospel Feb. 1 in Jesse Auditorium.
The tremors from this seismic event, which featured musical artist Tait and cross-building evangelist Joe White, have yet to settle down completely all over campus while “The Bible Study with No Name” pursues hundreds of needy souls. About 500 people who filled out comment cards ultimately could wind up coming their way, to the glory of Jesus alone. Every one of those people who were touched that night have been contacted by email by “The Bible Study with No Name.”
“It’s a following Jesus, we-love-Jesus thing,” said Chris Scharr, a 19-year-old Missouri freshman and a core group member of the “No Names.”
Scharr remembered being among the group of five students in late September who launched “The Bible Study with No Name” in his apartment.
“It was just really cool, in that small group setting, just digging into the Word and just seeing who Jesus is and what we’re doing,” Scharr said.
His roommate and fellow member of West County Community Church—a Missouri Baptist congregation in Wildwood—is 20-year-old sophomore Matt Hunter. The “No Names,” taught by Hunter, keep on traveling verse by verse through the book of John. Together they have made it to John 9 as God has brought forth a fresh boldness on the Mizzou campus, Hunter said. Leaders from several campus Christian groups, including Kristen Vogel from Young Life, make it their business to attend.
“Matt’s Bible study is just about Jesus,” said Vogel, a 19-year-old sophomore who has been coming since December. “Jesus obviously stretches and reaches to every person, so regardless of where people go to Bible study, we can all still come on Tuesdays to this.”
Hunter’s plan to grow the “No Names” before their Jesse Auditorium event was to call on them to pray, face down, on the carpet of his living room. He also likes it when someone recites an A to Z list at Bible study, bragging about the limitless alphabetical attributes of Jesus.
“It’s nothing that we do special that draws people to this Bible study,” he said. “The Bible study hasn’t grown from 5 to 32 or 50 because of something great that we are doing. It’s simply because God is drawing people unto Himself to hear about Him, and this is just a place where that’s happening. People are hungry for what they were created for.”
Hunter is a Missouri Baptist young adult who abides within the preaching ministry of his father, Phil, pastor of West County Community Church. One might expect to find him at Southwest Baptist University or Hannibal-LaGrange College, and he did indeed attend Missouri Baptist College for awhile. But God specifically called him to be an evangelist on a dark, secular campus. Therefore, Missouri has become his harvest field.
“Each day when he goes to class he goes on mission,” Phil Hunter said.
Matt Hunter’s vision for the “No Names” is simply that God would be called every regal and wonderful name in the dictionary while the “No Names,” who are nothing, keep praying flat on their faces.
“We’re saying, ‘God, we are dependent on You,” he said. “If You do not show up, we’re sunk. We know if anything is going to happen, it’s going to be because You did it.’ Praise God that we get to be a part of that.
“I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of seeing what God is going to do on our campus, not because of any of us but because God is drawing people unto Him. God did answer my prayers because you had 1,200 people hearing about the cross of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the forgiveness of Christ, and the love of Christ. I’m excited because I know that we serve a limitless God, and as we continue to seek Him humbly He’s going to do unbelievable things in us. He’s going to bust loose on this campus.”
Vogel agreed that the “No Names” are nothing.
“God doesn’t need us at all,” she said. “Prayer is more for us. I think He wants us to pray so that we can understand His glory.”
Scharr recalled what it felt like Feb. 1 to see streams of students flowing into the main administration building with the distinctive dome in the heart of campus, a structure built in 1893, to hear the Grammy-quality music of Tait and the motivational preaching of White, founder of Kanakuk Kamps in Branson.
“It was just so awesome just to see people starting to get there a half hour early,” Scharr said. “People just kept coming in, and I was just getting so excited. I was like, ‘Man, this is prayer answered. This is prayer lived out.’”
“The Bible Study with No Name” no longer meets in an apartment. They now meet in Memorial Union. Their goal is quite simple.
Preach the Gospel. See the lost respond. Watch as light penetrates a dark campus. See lives change.
“When that happens, our campus will be turned upside down,” Hunter said.