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The Corsaut family has moved to Columbia to plant a church near the University of Missouri. From left are Colby Corsaut, Evie, Deacon, Naomi, Malachi, with Abe on his shoulders, and Colby’s wife, Whitni. (Photo courtesy of Colby Corsaut)

Church plant in Columbia reaches secularized student population

Church planter Colby Corsaut has found his latest mission field on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.

“As a missiologist, it was pretty shocking to look at the city and see the lostness,” he said, according to “The Pathway.” “There are 100 nationalities here. There are students, there are refugees. Over 65 percent of the general population and 85 percent of the collegiate population identify as non-religious.

“By some statistics, it’s the fastest growing city in Missouri but just far enough outside the major cities that no one feels responsible for it. All 50 states and all 114 of Missouri’s counties are represented here, so it’s unbelievably influential.”

READ: MU alum becomes leader of American Bible Society

Although there still are solid churches in the college town, theological drift and liberalism have caused that number to shrink dramatically over the years, with the gospel’s visibility shrinking with it. More Bible-believing churches are needed to minister to and train vast swaths of the population, especially college students.

“There’s a desperation among the existing Christians here to see God do something, but the idea of winning almost seems like a foreign concept,” Corsaut said. “But if you can reach people in these places, they often become the best missionaries to go anywhere else, whether they’re going back to Kansas City or Bangladesh.”

Corsaut comes to mid-Missouri by way of 10 years of collegiate ministry at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, followed by time as an International Mission Board church planter in France. When he and his family began to feel God’s call to Missouri, they knew they wanted to focus on college students to ensure the church continues with fresh generations of leaders.

“The number of pastors in their 60s has tripled over the last few years,” he said. “There’s just not a ton of guys in the pipeline between 18 and 40.”

Corsaut is partnering with The Bridge Collegiate Ministry, a new Baptist presence at the University of Missouri started by Missouri Baptist campus missionary Scott Westfall. The ministry has grown to 20 to 30 students .

“We want to see that collegiate work be the spear tip that reaches tons of young leaders and funnels them back to not just The King’s Church, but also our existing sister churches,” he said. “We’d love to train them as youth pastors, children’s workers and maybe give them an opportunity to preach.”

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice


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