From The Verge to The Gathering

By: Jonelle Bobak

The student-led worship service, the Verge, which is held on campus at Gardner-Webb has changed its name to The Gathering. Jacob Kirby and Caitlyn Brotherton are the coordinators for the Tuesday night worship service.

“The Verge has existed at Gardner-Webb for a really long time, nobody knows why or for how long or really the purpose of the service at all,” said Kirby.

Kirby and Brotherton met for the first time as new co-coordinators back in April and had the same vision from the beginning. “We recognized that the Verge had drifted away from any real sense of purpose or ownership that the student body had,” said Kirby.

“The Gathering is a place for broken people to be broken people together as Jesus works towards healing, renewal and revival on our campus,” said Kirby. He wants to change how people enter into the worship service. “I think it’s really important for people to know that this is their ministry,” he said.

“The Gathering makes me feel like it’s a place where people belong. Not only with each other, but with The Lord as well,” said Brotherton.

Dr. Paula Qualls speaks at The Gathering. Photo by: Elizabeth Banfield
Dr. Paula Qualls speaks at The Gathering.
Photo by: Elizabeth Banfield

The name change will not affect the purpose of the worship service. “It was really a re-clarification of purpose for The Gathering. The only change that I think is noticeably different is our effort to include more students in the service,” said Brotherton.

They are hoping to have more students involved in the service through worship, speaking, opening prayer, benediction or greeting people at the door. They don’t plan on making major changes, but simply want to redefine the purpose.

“There is still a great group of students attending every week and Jesus was still there doing what He does, but there was a definite disconnect between what students thought the Verge was supposed to be about and what was going on,” said Kirby.

They are hoping for a good response from the student body.

“I’ll leave here happy if I know that real community happened among believers and nonbelievers alike as they encountered the community God the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.”

Not all feedback from the worship service name change was positive. Many students have commented that the name reminded them of a “cult”. Questions have been raised of why there even needed to be a name change.

Cayce Martin, a senior, voiced her concerns. “To me, the Gathering sounds like more of an exclusive event than inclusive and it’s a Christian worship service,”

she said.

“It sounds like it’s not very welcoming, like you would have to have a password to get in,” said Cameron Freeman, a junior.

Brotherton hopes that people will come to the Gathering to experience growth in their relationship with Christ. She said everyone is looking for somewhere

to fit in, and she wants The Gathering to be that place for people.

“We gather for the sole purpose of meeting with Jesus and pursuing a deeper intimacy with Him. We do that through a lot of different ways on a Tuesday

Students at The Gathering. Photo by: Elizabeth Banfield
Students at The Gathering.
Photo by: Elizabeth Banfield

night, but that’s the main thing! We gather to encounter Jesus together,” said Kirby.

If you would like to attend a service, the next one will be tonight, September 30th at 7 p.m. in Stewart Hall in the Tucker Student Center. For more information you can contact Jacob Kirby ([email protected]) or Caitlyn Brotherton ([email protected]).