Tag: antioch college ministry

Resting Well – A Letter from College Pastor Luke Whyte

First off, I want to say CONGRATULATIONS to all of the college seniors that graduated this past weekend. What an incredible accomplishment! We can’t wait to see what the Lord continues to do in and through each of your lives!

For Rachel and I, the beginning of the summer marks a transition of not only the seasons, but also a big step into the next chapter of our lives as the college pastors. We are thrilled for all that is ahead.

Students have a variety of plans this summer including internships with corporations all over the country, spending time overseas on ENGAGE THE ISLANDS and plenty of other travel and time at home with family.

No matter what the next three months hold –


  1. Fan the flame of your spirit // 1 Timothy 1:6-7 says, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Look for opportunities to continue to fan the flame of your faith this summer! This comes through enjoying time with Jesus in nature and in the word, watching YouTube worship, listening to podcasts, starting a new Bible study, etc.
  2. Tend the garden of your heart // Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” Take time to process all the Lord did over the past year. Journaling is crucial for me because if I just try to think about things I get distracted too easily. Sit down and ask the Father the simple question, “Father what did You do in my heart/life this past year?” Write down whatever the Lord speaks, and thank Him for the ways He moved.
  3. Refresh your body // “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3) At the end of the day we are not only spiritual and emotional people, but we are also physical people. This means we need to be replenished physically! Yes, this means you should probably sleep in at times, eat good food, etc. But I also want to encourage you to invite Jesus into your physical refreshment. What if you went on a walk in the woods (my personal favorite) and just thanked Him for what He’s doing in your life? Consider putting on a podcast or listening to worship music as you go on a run. I find that when I invite Jesus into my day to day physical activities, both my body and spirit are refreshed.

All in all, Rachel and I are looking forward to all that’s ahead. We bought a house on 11th and Daughtery, and we’re moving to be closer to college students. We are also going to take time do all of the above and rest well!

We love you all and are overjoyed to get to serve alongside each one of you.


The Whytes

Thank You Volunteers

My name is Carl and I have been serving as the College Pastor here at Antioch. In the college ministry, we do not call our volunteers, “volunteers.” We call them PILLARS.

Why? Thanks for asking.

Several years ago, our children’s pastor informed me our College Ministry was having next to no impact on the kids of Antioch. Shocked, I asked him to explain. He noted that looking at his volunteer numbers, he could never tell whether my students were in Waco or gone for vacation. I could not believe this! Surely his volunteer numbers took a hit when 600 college students went back home for the holidays… but in fact, they didn’t at all!

Apparently, serving had dropped off our students’ grids. Their busy schedules and the myriads of opportunities coming their way had diverted them into other options.

That was my fault.

I had been living in the tyranny of the urgent and failed to pitch a compelling vision to our students about the beauty of serving the bride of Christ in this treasure called the local church.

This was unacceptable to me. So I repented to God and to our students. I was not about to allow college students to spend four years of their lives making great memories in Waco and miss out on the privilege and calling of giving their gifts to the local church. Why?


As a response, our team brainstormed together – and thus the PILLAR idea was born. To be clear: the real problem was not that we were low on ideas for volunteerism. The problem was we were low on honor for our volunteers! We had not honored the hidden devotion and sacrifice of those upon whom Antioch’s vision was built. But that was about to change.

One typical Wednesday night, our students strolled into the church to find a not-so-typical night had been planned for them. We turned the room upside down and hung pillar banners everywhere. Then one of our pastors came out dressed in a red, full body spandex suit. Now we had their attention!

He taught everyone the new Pillar mantra, Pillar hand signs and the Pillar theme song. But then he unveiled what would soon become our college ministry’s most envied award: the Golden Hammer!

This tacky thing of beauty goes to ones who have been serving diligently, going above and beyond to be a behind-the-scenes player for the sake of someone else. The crowd goes nuts every time we pull someone onto the stage and hand them a Golden Hammer because


That’s the thing about pillars: they are strategically placed in houses and buildings in order to provide stability and support, yet they are rarely noticed.

If they were to be removed, the whole thing would come crashing down. But pillars do their job – day in and day out – in order to keep everything afloat, regardless of whether they receive a high five or a thank-you note. They just do what they do because a job needs to be done – and that is what they were made to do. Could any word or illustration better describe the volunteers in our church who selflessly give themselves week after week in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our city?

The truth is: this isn’t just a college thing. It’s woven into the very fabric of our entire church!

Just look around:

  • Kids Ministry volunteers
  • UnBound teams fighting human trafficking
  • Youth Ministry leaders serving teenagers
  • Lifegroup leaders forming community
  • STARS mentors reading to 3rd graders
  • Worship team members
  • Audio/Visual masterminds
  • Camera operators
  • Encounter Night servants
  • Greeters for Sunday mornings
  • Parking Lot attendants
  • Nest Ministry champions for moms
  • Prayer Shield intercessors
  • Pastoral Care for international missionaries
  • Bridge Street planners for the Young Adult service
  • Community Feast leaders serving the poor
  • World Mandate volunteers

Whether it’s passing the offering buckets or serving the precious children with special needs among us, our church is who we are because of the pillars who embody the vision and values of this family we call Antioch. As Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church, says:

“The Church that Jesus is building is not built on the talents of a few but on the sacrifices of the many. And while only a few will climb the highest mountain or shoot out of the earth’s atmosphere, those feats would not have happened without the brilliance of unsuspecting powerhouses serving behind the scenes.”


Thank you to all of you who serve behind the scenes. Who willingly lay down your lives week after week. Who carry the burdens of God’s people with or without the praise of men. Thank you for being Pillars.

As the apostle Peter said in his first letter:

“Be shepherds of God‘s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you were asked, but because you are willing… and when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away!”

In other words: your Golden Hammer awaits you.

By Carl Gulley – Lead Pastor

AWAKEN 2018 Recap // Days Three and Four

We cannot believe that this week is almost over! Day three started with our college pastor, Carl Gulley, challenging us through taking a look at the life of David. We came together again in the afternoon to hear from Nate Hutcherson and Caroline Doolittle speak on tending to your heart. We finished our day with more park and neighborhood outreaches where we shared the gospel and prayed for people. On day four, we heard from Maddie Phenix at our morning session and had a kickball tournament between the different sections in the afternoon. To end the day, we did park outreaches and hosted a carnival. God is on the move and we are excited to be a part!

One big team did a flash mob while out on a mall outreach. Check it out!


We share testimonies every morning, and are filled with faith for what God wants to continue to do in and through us.

We kick everyday off with worship. It is always refreshing to start our day in the presence of God.

On Tuesday, we took the afternoon to hear from Caroline Doolittle and Nate Hutcherson as they shared about tending your heart.

Each year we have a kickball tournament between big teams, and it is a blast!

After some down time, we head out to outreaches in the afternoons.

We are so filled with faith for the people of the Rio Grande Valley. God is on the move and we are so thankful to be a part!

In addition to outreaches at the parks, we have also hosted carnivals at the Echo Hotel.

We love getting to serve and do outreach alongside everyone on our big teams. Each day ends with team time! There is nothing better than gathering together to share testimonies and encouragements.


  • The last of our carnivals to draw in the people of Edinburg so they can hear the Gospel.
  • Our students to be energized and encouraged as they go out today with fresh boldness.
  • The last of our outreaches to be fruitful and for people to have responsive hearts.
A huge thank you to our amazing volunteer photographers for helping us this week: Fadi Salem, Isaac Overton, Josh Lo, Sydney Cope, Rebecca Burris and Sarah Berlinsky

AWAKEN 2018 Recap // Day Two

The second day of AWAKEN was amazing! We had our first morning session where Luke Whyte talked on the father heart of God before we headed out to service projects all around the city. We ended our day with multiple outreaches in parks as well as neighborhoods.


We start every morning with worship, there is nothing like coming together to praise Jesus!

Luke Whyte kicked off our first session with a powerful message on the father heart of God.

After our morning session, we headed out to various work sites across the city.

It is so fun to serve the city alongside the rest of our big teams.

Prayer brings transformation and healing, and we are not only believing for the people of the Rio Grande Valley to be healed, but also our students.

We love sharing testimonies because it stirs our faith and raises our expectancy for all God is going to do.

We believe people’s lives are getting transformed! We take opportunities to share the gospel and pray with people whenever we can.


Pray for// 
  • Good weather for the rest of the week
  • Our students to be responsive and encounter Jesus in the morning sessions
  • The people of Edinburg to have open hearts to respond to the gospel
A HUGE thank you to our amazing volunteer photographers for helping us this week: Fadi Salem, Isaac Overton, Josh Lo, Sydney Cope, Rebecca Burris and Nate Emerson.

Cultivating a Lifestyle of Thankfulness

Last week our college Lifegroups hosted Thanksgiving parties – hundreds of students gathered in houses and apartments to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and everything in between! These parties are a great way to invite friends into community and also begin preparing our own hearts (and stomachs) for the Thanksgiving holiday.

But, we also acknowledge that as great as these parties are, most of our students are looking forward to a Thanksgiving at home. Even for me, though no longer a student, there’s something about going to my hometown, being in my parents’ house and taking in all the familiar sights and scents. During this season we are expected to reflect on all we have to be thankful for and intentionally express gratitude at a new level.

Sometimes that can feel difficult.


I wanted to give you a few practical challenges you can try out while you’re home for Thanksgiving. My hope is that thankfulness will eventually become the natural overflow of our hearts no matter the season.

  1. Begin every prayer with “Thank you, God..” // Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving…” If you start your conversation with God every day by expressing your thanks, you’re paving your own road into His presence…brick by brick, you’re entering in. Before you begin asking Him anything else, take several moments to really think about who God has been, is and will be for you, and the amazing things He has done, is doing and will do for you. Then, tell Him “Thank you!”
  2. Make a list and pick out the highlights // For a set amount of time (10-30 minutes), sit down with a pen and paper and write out anything and everything you’re thankful for. Engage things in your heart and mind that you typically take for granted – ask the Holy Spirit to help bring things to mind. After you’ve made your list, go through and circle the ones that stick out to you most, or seem most significant or special. For those items that you circled, pinpoint a person you can thank (If it’s your car, who helped you buy it? If it’s that vacation you took last month, who was with you or helped pay for it? If it’s for your education, who worked hard to provide while you were in school?) Then, either tell that person face-to-face or write them a note expressing your thankfulness – this doesn’t have to be a long, risky conversation, but rather a simple acknowledgement.
  3. Do something that says, “thank you” // Don’t just let thanksgiving come out of your mouth, but also out of your actions. Help clean up the kitchen after a meal. Offer to take the kids to the park. Be a good steward. Give up the best seat in the house for movie night. Pick up some flowers to take home with you. Give hugs. Our generation can kick entitlement out of the house, if we’ll step up our game and actually express thanksgiving with our actions out of love, not just with our mouths out of obligation to a holiday.

I pray that this Thanksgiving is restful, refreshing and fun for you and your family. I pray that we all walk in greater revelation of all that we have to be thankful for, and greater obedience to express that thankfulness to God and to those around us. Let’s let the thanks keep rolling straight through every season.

By Meredith Gordon – College Ministry Staff

Making Back to School a Win – College Edition

Senior-itis is a real phenomenon. It’s that feeling of walking into your first day of 12th grade still exhausted from your last day of 11th grade. All the homework, pep rallies, relational drama, prom, athletic practices, banquets, late nights, early mornings… At one level, you love it. At another level, you just want out. I went to a private school from Pre-K to 12th grade and absolutely loved it. Still every school has its pros and cons. Upside: being small, we were a close-knit family and the teachers knew each child personally and intimately. The downside? If you got stuck with a label, reputation or stereotype, it was hard to shake. You couldn’t just grab a new group of friends and rebrand yourself. Translation: graduation couldn’t come fast enough.

I later realized that deep beneath the longing for graduation day was a desire for something much more:


A place where you get to make your own choices and no one knows what you did back in 10th grade. A season where you get to choose who you want to be and who you want to live life with.

Enter college! That magical four year world filled with intramurals, meal plans, leadership organizations and classes you actually want to take. The world says you’re not quite an adult yet so you should soak up the typical college experience and live life to the fullest. But having been a college pastor for eight years, here’s what I know:

The decisions you make during college will set the course for the rest of your life.

So in order to not repeat your high school-itis, here’s a quick list of things all college students (from freshman to senior) need to hear at the beginning of the school year:

    • 1. Choose Wisely //

      It’s true: YOUR FRIENDS ARE A PREVIEW OF THE FUTURE YOU. I can tell who you are going to be someday by looking at the friends you are hanging out with right now. If you want to reach a godly destination, pick some friends who are going there with or without you.


    • 2. Ditch the Sin Experiment //

      I meet so many students who say they started college with a desire to “just have a little fun for a little while.” They’ll visit parties or hook up with some guy/girl…because it’s “just for a little while.” I recently met a few guys starting their senior year who told me: “We just realized that the world will call us adults in nine months time. How do we make up for the last three years of living for ourselves?” Don’t be those guys. But if you have been, your answer lies in #3.


  • 3. Make it Your Personal Mission to Destroy FOMO //

    In an attempt to not miss out on anything, you will be tempted to commit to nothing. The basic college route calls you to hop around to different churches and bounce in and out of anything asking you for a commitment. When Jesus came to Peter, He said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:20 says, “Immediately, they left their nets and followed Him.” My challenge to you is to get into a Lifegroup and pursue discipleship and accountability that will push you to Jesus. ASAP. This is where you will encounter God personally and where you will find a fresh start – a clean slate – waiting for you.

This is your shot and you only get four years (okay, some of you get five). In the meantime, remember what 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Or as Hillsong’s song Empires says:

Beneath our skin
A new creation
The night is done
Our chains are broken
The time as come
The wait is over
The King is here

That promise is for you. Don’t waste it.

Carl Gulley, College Pastor

Carl-Gulley headshot

A Sunday Morning Picture Recap

We had a great Sunday yesterday! Our college students are back, and everything feels normal again. Jimmy Seibert also continued our Return to Radical: Being the Church in the 21st Century series by unpacking the question, “Who is Jesus?” We were challenged and encouraged to discover who Jesus is because our perception of Jesus will shape the rest of our lives.

Check out a recap of our morning:

Awaken 2017: Day 4

Our week is almost over, and we can’t believe it! We had another great day hearing from our associate college pastor Maddie Phenix at our morning session, followed by a restful afternoon at the hotel. We ended the day with another carnival and other outreaches. God is moving in big ways and we are thankful to be a part!

The Bible says that we overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. We share testimonies at each of our morning sessions to stir faith in the room and to celebrate what God is doing.

We are so thankful for our worship team that continues to lead us in to the presence of God. Our worship time have been powerful!

Maddie Phenix shared on the power of the Holy Spirit and how He is still active in our lives. We were challenged and encouraged!

We had our third carnival of the week and it was a blast!

The day started out with rain, but thankfully it cleared up by the time our carnival began!

The carnivals create a space to share the love of Jesus with entire families! Many children are being stirred to invite Jesus in to their hearts!

Today join us in praying for:

  • The weather to clear up for our last carnival
  • For our students to be filled with fresh energy and boldness as we go out today
  • For our last round of outreaches to be fruitful and for people to have open hearts

Awaken 2017: Day 3

We are having an amazing trip so far! We started of day three with our morning session and and our college pastor, Carl Gulley, talked about Kingdom authority. We came together in the afternoon again and heard from Ricky Chelette, leader of Living Hope Ministries. We wrapped up our day with another round of block parties, carnivals and park outreaches where we shared the Gospel and prayed for people.


Most morning sessions usually start out with a dance party and it is a blast!

There is nothing sweeter than gathering each morning to worship and enter in to the presence of God.

Ricky Chelette of Living Hope Ministries, shared a powerful message with us on gender and sexuality.

We are so thankful for our drama teams! They share the story of the Gospel for people, and pave the way for people to know Jesus.

Each night many people gather to watch the Gospel presentation and we have seen many people give their lives to Jesus!

The people of this area are so kind and willing to share their stories with us. They are also so open to hearing what we have to share!

The carnivals we host each day give us an amazing opportunity to share with many people. Fifty people gave their lives to Jesus at our first carnival, and we are expectant for more!

Today, join us in praying for:

  • More salvations! People are hungry and we praying for many to know the love of Jesus.
  • Our students to be filled with boldness as they share the Gospel and pray with people
  • Clear weather and fruitful outreaches

A special shout out to our amazing photographers: Will Aker, Lexy Bishop and Garett Larson!


Awaken 2017: Day 1

AWAKEN, our College Ministry’s annual spring break mission trip, is officially here! Each year more than 400 college students and leaders head to Edinburg, Texas, excited to share the love of Jesus and serve the people of the Rio Grande Valley.


The morning was spent attending churches throughout the area. Some of our students had the opportunity to help lead worship!

After some down time at the hotel, students headed out on their first round of outreaches.

Our dance teams kick off each of the outreaches.

There are always a ton of kids at the parks, and playing with them is a blast!

We believe our prayers are powerful and effective! // We love having the opportunity to pray with people at the parks.

Each day ends with team time! There is nothing better than gathering together to share testimonies and encouragements

Throughout the week we want to bring you in on all God is doing in Edinburg, so stay tuned for more recaps. And please join us in praying for God to prepare the hearts of individuals and families in Edinburg who will hear the Gospel this week.


Shout out to our amazing volunteer photographers for helping us out this week: Will Aker, Bethany Hicks and Kassy Martinez,