NEOImpact’s welcoming home of worship

Grace Davies, Reporter

NEOImpact, Kent State and Case Western Reserve’s branch of the national Impact movement, is a Christian organization consisting of students and volunteers. Impact participates in regular meetings, both at Kent State and local churches, as well as one-off excursions, trips and workshops.

The group’s flyers are seen all across campus, but what is it really like?

With its Christian focus, Impact presents an open and accepting door to anyone who is willing to walk in, sit down and hang out. The organization is about creating an inter-community dynamic while interacting with the surrounding area.

Darnell Wilson, head of NEOImpact, has been involved with the organization since 2010. Impact has three objectives.

“We do this by living life within the context of community, sharing Jesus with those who don’t know Him, while building up those who do,” states the group’s website.

However, there is one sole goal that pertains to new and current members: “Bringing those who’re far away from God near to him.”

Many current members had little to no interactions with spirituality before joining the group.

Ramone Hardy, a sophomore digital media production major, found a home within Impact despite having no Christian background.

“Being around a lot of young people who are similar-minded,” he said. “We’re all young Christians, but we’re still college students. We still have our own desires. We still, you know, we’re all struggling with some of the same things.”

Aside from the bi-weekly meetings, Impact also holds “Groups Investigating God,” or GIGS, three times a week, usually led by two to three service leaders from the group.

Before each meeting, a handful of members gather at the front of the room. They have a “praise report,” or a reflecting session of what each accomplished since the previous meeting, followed by a “prayer request,” or an inquiry into prayer subjects and people.

Then members scatter, some going outside the doors or elevators down the hall to greet others as they enter; others linger around the room, chit-chatting and playing music over a loudspeaker.

The meetings start like most student groups: going over upcoming events for the group and covering past events the group completed. Then it is time for a segment called “Snapshot,” where one member will present their personal spiritual story.

Jasmine Jeffries, a volunteer member and recent graduate of Kent State, has been with Impact for five years and encourages anyone who is interested to come to a meeting.

“Something that we say is ‘just do it scared,’” she said. “I’m not saying you don’t have to be scared or nervous, but I promise you if you come sit by yourself, somebody’s going to talk to you. God will meet you on the edge of your comfort zone. So just challenge it and then if you like it, great. If you don’t, great, go have something you [do] like. We try to make ourselves the most inclusive space on campus.”

Grace Davies is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]