UNI Offers Off-Campus Worship
Reported by Ana Imes
On Sept. 22 and Nov. 10, UNI Worship nights were held at Red Hills Church. This high-energy community of quality music is unaffiliated with any church or with George Fox University (GFU), but it is offered for any college-age student who wants to be involved in worship at any level.
UNI was co-founded by students Nathan Brantingham and Brent Wilson. In February, Brantingham was “sitting at Red Hills Church and imagined a whole bunch of college students worshiping.” After developing his idea for a worship event over the summer, he shared his ideas with Wilson. Wilson had been planning a worship program with a similar vision, which he believes was God’s way of putting them together.
“From that moment we collaborated, so we’re basically co-founders,” Brantingham explained.
Brantingham and Wilson noticed that, at GFU, there were “little worship nights here and there on campus, but nothing that’s super high quality.” Brantingham wanted a high-quality yet low-key worship environment where a musician “could actually play with a band” and that wasn’t “cheesy like chapel is sometimes.” Wilson hoped to “uncover a lot of hidden musicians” at GFU and create an event attractive to both Christians and non-Christians.
So far, UNI has hosted a musician from Mosaic Church in Los Angeles and a group from Westside Church in Tigard. Brantingham and Wilson hope to continue to bring “guests from around the globe.” They want to gain “wisdom and influence from leaders in different parts of the world that all follow Jesus.” By attracting all different types of students, they hope to strip away “this idea of religion and a lot of traditions” and focus on encountering God.
Beginning in January 2019, UNI will be a monthly event. Wilson says it is meant to be a place where everyone can “feel welcome and comfortable” to be themselves. It is also “a way to empower students and encourage them to get involved” in worship ministry. Brantingham said, “when students come, they should not only have fun, but they should also have an encounter with God and with Jesus and leave changed.”