College Ministry

Collegiate Church Plant Collaborative (CCPC) 2019

In February, over 150 collegiate ministers from across the nation (and Canada!) gathered at our main campus in Alameda, CA for the 2019 Collegiate Church Planting Collaborative (CCPC). CCPC is organized by the North American Mission Board’s Send Network and consists of 3 packed days of collaboration and training to accelerate disciple making and church planting in university contexts.

We’ve hosted the event at our church every other year since 2013. Our members hosted visiting ministers in their homes and loved on them with our Gracepoint-style potluck.

Back in 2013, we didn’t know many others who were planting collegiate churches, or even many others who were focused on college campuses. It's been a tremendous blessing to meet others who share our heart for college students and are striving to live out the Great Commission on college campuses. We've found friends, co-laborers, and fellow Kingdom workers to encourage, teach, challenge, and inspire us to give more to Gospel work.

Church planters traveled from many different campuses for the Collaborative.

Church planters traveled from many different campuses for the Collaborative.


Peru for Jesus - Scouting Trip

In February, seven of our Spanish-speaking brothers hopped on a plane and flew to Lima, Peru for seven days. They visited Pastor Jaime and his church, and then several university campuses:

  • San Marcos University (28,000 students)

  • Lima University (16,300 students),

  • Catholica University (17,500 students)

Here’s a sweet video recap of their scouting trip. We’re praying about next steps for our church, and holding onto the team’s prayer at the beginning of the video: “Peru for Jesus, whoooo...!”

From the Archives: Dr. Craig at Gracepoint

Wheeler Hall packed with students listening to Dr. Craig's talk on the existence of God.

Wheeler Hall packed with students listening to Dr. Craig's talk on the existence of God.

Over the years we've hosted different speakers and teachers to help us grow in our ability to answer both questions from others about our faith and our own questions and doubts.

Dr. William Lane Craig has had a big impact on us in both regards. Dr. Craig is renowned in the world of Christian apologetics. His book On Guard and his Reasonable Faith website and ministry are go-to resources for anyone beginning their study of apologetics. Dr. Craig cogently articulates the claims of the Christian faith and has engaged in fascinating discussions and debates with the likes of Sam Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens and recently with Jordan B. Peterson.

We dug through our Flickr and Vimeo archives and unearthed a few pictures and videos from his visits to our church!

More than 10 years ago, we hosted him for a few talks including one on the existence of God, another on the historicity of the resurrection, and he even preached the message at our Sunday worship service.

Dr. Craig's talks are often followed by a Q&A time. Berkeley students lined up for a chance to engage with him.

Dr. Craig's talks are often followed by a Q&A time. Berkeley students lined up for a chance to engage with him.

Dr. Craig delivered a message on the evidence for Christianity at our Sunday worship service in Berkeley.

Dr. Craig delivered a message on the evidence for Christianity at our Sunday worship service in Berkeley.

Pastor Ed gave Dr. Craig a DVD as a thank you gift—yep, they still used DVDs back then!

Pastor Ed gave Dr. Craig a DVD as a thank you gift—yep, they still used DVDs back then!

In 2010, Dr. Craig came back to Berkeley and gave a compelling argument for how an all-powerful, all-loving God can exist amidst a world of suffering and pain.

During that trip he also gave a talk called, "How Do We Know Jesus Was Raised from the Dead?" to a gathering of youth students at Rise, an event hosted by our Interhigh ministry.

We're grateful for how Dr. Craig has inspired us to think clearly and to increase our knowledge of the evidence for the Christian faith we hold.

Valentine's Day of Compassion 2019

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This past Valentine’s Day our church fanned out across 32 different Bay Area locations to spend time with the residents, sing together, and share a message of hope from the Bible.

Many of the locations we visited were local convalescent homes and rehabilitation centers where the residents are suffering from different mental or physical ailments, but we also got to visit a few shelters and youth centers.

Jana Fernandez leads praise time during her group's visit to a convalescent home in Oakland.

Jana Fernandez leads praise time during her group's visit to a convalescent home in Oakland.

Students from our Berkeley A2F fellowship visited a convalescent home in Berkeley. They sang "Your Love is Deep" with the residents and even included some simple hand motions with their song.

Students from our Berkeley A2F fellowship visited a convalescent home in Berkeley. They sang "Your Love is Deep" with the residents and even included some simple hand motions with their song.

Stephen Cheng delivers a message focused on how God's love overcomes sin and death.

Stephen Cheng delivers a message focused on how God's love overcomes sin and death.

VDOC was started by a small group of women with an idea to visit a nursing home as a way to love those who are often forgotten. I’m sure none of them would’ve guessed that 13 years later, VDOC would take place at 32 different locations in the Bay Area, not to mention many more locations across our GP church plants.

Students from our Rutgers ministry visited a convalescent home near campus and included a skit in their program.

Students from our Rutgers ministry visited a convalescent home near campus and included a skit in their program.

It’s cool to see everyone from our Element middle and high schoolers to college students, post grads, and parents with their kids all sharing in this vision of bringing love to the elderly on Valentine’s Day.

VDOC has become an opportunity for parents to teach their kids how to show love to others, too.

VDOC has become an opportunity for parents to teach their kids how to show love to others, too.

This past year, Outreach magazine even featured VDOC in their print publication in the hopes that other churches across the country would be inspired to start this ministry at their churches, too. We wholeheartedly agree!

Rightly Handling the Word of Truth

We recently had our SoCal-wide College Winter Retreat. Many students wanted to make God their top priority, and felt the need to grow in knowledge of God’s Word. It’s been encouraging to see students—even freshmen—challenge themselves to come to campus for 7am DT once a week! 5 freshman girls have been coming faithfully every Tuesday at 7am, and the junior girls and guys have been meeting on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7am.

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Our student leaders have also been meeting for 1-1 DTs with freshmen who can’t make mornings. It’s been a refreshing experience seeing the upperclassmen take the word of God so seriously. Some junior girls have even challenged themselves to read the entire Bible in one year. Not to be outdone, the junior bros are memorizing the 100 Bible verses every self-respecting Christian should know.

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Michelle Wang is a college minister at Gracepoint Irvine.

Bibliopolis: Defying reading statistics

In August 2015, after working for 15 years as a high school English and History teacher, Emily Kim became our official church librarian.

Emily, our church librarian and #1 Gracepoint Bibliophile with her prototypical stack of books!

Emily, our church librarian and #1 Gracepoint Bibliophile with her prototypical stack of books!

Soon after, Emily launched Bibliopolis: a church library specifically geared toward children and teens. Emily recognized the effect that our 21st century, instant gratification culture was having on our youth. In a 2016 Breakpoint article, Eric Metaxas explained how the rise of technology has impacted psychological health, social skill development, and academics. A study by Microsoft concluded that, "The average attention span among American youth is about 8 seconds, less than that of a goldfish." Just last year, Pew Research Center discovered that 24% of Americans hadn't read a single book all year.

Emily created Bibliopolis to promote the love of reading throughout our church and to raise up life-long readers across Gracepoint Berkeley and our church plants. Emily writes, "As Christians, it's so important for us to learn how to engage our minds and enter into dialogue with an author about sustained arguments, ideas, or imagined worlds and characters so that we can become more reasonable, thoughtful, attentive students of the Word, and equipped to fight against all that is in the world that that tells us that the here and now is all there is!"

Emily spurred us on through programs like reading challenges, a Bibliopolis blog, and curating a mini-city of books for children and adults alike. At Bibliopolis headquarters you'll find an array of plants, Ikea furniture, warm drinks, and plush rugs positioned to create a warm, welcoming environment conducive to reading and it's become a beloved corner of our church for readers of all ages.

Enjoying Halfway Herbert in Bibliopolis. Books range from picture books for elementary school kids to chapter books for older students.

Enjoying Halfway Herbert in Bibliopolis. Books range from picture books for elementary school kids to chapter books for older students.

Emily recognized this as a truly extraordinary moment—middle school boys voluntarily reading!

Emily recognized this as a truly extraordinary moment—middle school boys voluntarily reading!

Emily inspired a reading revolution across our churches. Church plants started book tables at Sunday services. Candid snapshots of readers encouraged people to "steal reading moments" throughout their daily schedules. Even Pastor Ed got caught up in the reading mania!

A book table at our UCLA church.

A book table at our UCLA church.

Anywhere in the world can become a place to "steal a reading moment." Even during a bike ride in Alameda!

Anywhere in the world can become a place to "steal a reading moment." Even during a bike ride in Alameda!

Pastor Ed stealing a reading moment with some kids while visiting Gracepoint Riverside.

Pastor Ed stealing a reading moment with some kids while visiting Gracepoint Riverside.

As Bibliopolis helps us defy the reading statistics of today, we're being transformed from goldfish into bookworms. Check out the Bibliopolis blog for reading inspiration and book reviews and recommendations for readers of all ages—fiction, non-fiction, and Christian books too!

By Krystal Han

Krystal is an avid reader herself and serves in our Elderly Care Ministry at Gracepoint Berkeley.

Preaching Good News to the Elderly

The last time I gave a Bible message was during Valentine’s Day of Compassion in 2017, when I was a college senior. We visited an elderly home to share a bit of God’s love with the residents, and I had the added privilege to speak on behalf of our college group.

Recently, an opportunity came up for any volunteers on the staff team to join our Elderly Care Ministry and to preach the worship service message. I signed up to share God’s Word. I want to do my part in living out 2 Timothy 2:15,

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 

This Sunday, I’m planning to share from Matthew 11:28-30,

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


Uvaldo Chavez is a campus minister, part of Berkeley acts2fellowship.

Ministry from a college student's perspective

Live Christmas music floats through the room—there’s the sound of joyful conversation and laughter. College students are making jokes with various grandmas and grandpas they just met about the recent Cal versus Stanford game. There’s something rare about this intergenerational fellowship. But we hope more and more people get to experience something precious like this, which is why we’re continuing to add to the number of elderly care centers we visit through our Elderly Care Ministry (ECM).

This past December, some of our college students had the opportunity to go to McClure Care Home and minister to elderly residents by putting on a Sunday worship service. This was our first time ever visiting McClure Care Home, so it was an exciting new venture for our students to take on together. They prepared Christmas ornaments as gifts for the residents, a music program complete with instruments and singing, and a message.

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John Lin, a senior in our MakeNew fellowship was thankful that a lot of residents were attentive to the message and even sang along with them. As he was preparing his message on Matthew 9:1-3, he noted, “I was really blessed writing my message. It really solidified my understanding of the Bible in that passage…I have to be able to preach to myself before preaching to others. And I think just writing a message, even if you don’t give it, is something everyone should do. It’s a really good experience.”

He said it was really special for him and his friends to work together—“we set up everything and each person got to own a different task. There was something dynamic about moving together as a group. It’s not one person doing it by themselves, but it’s really all of us trying to follow Jesus together.”