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Life on Life Discipleship

Over the next several months we will be telling stories of the extraordinary work of God in normal people's lives. You will also get the chance to know some of our pastors and staff as they share their stories. If you have a story about how God is working in your life that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you and celebrate together. 

Stories: Jon Merkling

I was one of the first Generation LINK residents at Crosspoint Church in Clemson way back in 2008. I heard about the program through a friend who I’d gone on a mission trip with. I was finishing college at Western Kentucky University (go Tops!) and was trying to figure out what to do after I graduated. In college, I had developed three passions:

  1. A passion for college ministry, specifically discipling young men

  2. A passion to build up the local church

  3. A passion for learning and theological education

At that point in my life, I’d never been to Clemson, or even to South Carolina, but this was the only program I had heard of that did both college ministry and seminary through the church. It perfectly combined all three of my passions. So I packed up everything I owned in my Honda Accord and made the trek from my old Kentucky home down to Tigertown. Little did I know that this experience would change my life. I’d become a believer in college, and had grown a lot in that time, but the experience of moving somewhere new and being in a communal learning environment really helped me see things in new ways. It helped me grow as a Christian and helped me understand what my gifts and callings were. I took what I learned in the classroom and was immediately able to apply it in the campus Bible study I led and in my discipleship relationships. All in all, it helped me become a better man and shaped my understanding of ministry in a way that simply going off to seminary could not. It also helped me meet my beautiful wife, so it definitely was a great decision!

Several years later, the Generation LINK program has grown and changed in ways that I couldn’t even fathom back in 2008.

  • It has expanded to multiple sites all over the country and even abroad.

  • It has incorporated communal living as part of its DNA.

  • It has broadened its focus beyond college ministry into all areas of ministry in the local church and even in the marketplace, allowing anyone’s passion to be met with an opportunity to serve.

All of those reasons and more is why we have brought Generation LINK to Charleston. Our vision is to see this as a way to connect college graduates with opportunities to serve in local churches, businesses, schools or medical facilities, get seminary training and be part of a community that will help them grow into the leader that God has called them to be!