We exist to shepherd young adults into an intentional relationship with God and others by gathering together through worship, discipleship, community service and local church functions.
This organization is here for the church as a whole. Our desire is to be a resource for the local body to use as supplemental to the young adults in the North Georgia area. Our purpose is to impact the young adults in such a way that they view and interact with the world around them (i.e. church, job, school) in a Godly manner that shares the love of Christ diversely, fulfilling the command of Christ to go out into the world and make disciples.
WHY WE EXIST
To bring community and discipleship to young adults. Through biblical teaching, we will join in shepherding young adults minds and hearts into spiritual maturity.
“To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4 12-14 ESV)
Coming alongside the local church, our desire is to equip young adults to faithfully serve and impact where they are already committed. Through Vesselʼs community, students can return encouraged and refreshed to pour into the church.
By cultivating students, we can empower the local church to better meet the needs of the body of Christ in order to edify the congregation, serve the surrounding community, and fulfill the great commission in whatever its scope.
Ultimately our purpose is to advance the gospel through proclamation and godly living by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” (Corinthians 2:14-17 ESV)
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We fully affirm that our theology is imperfect and always growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. In our discipleship, our goal is to do our best to encourage and lead young adults, but in no way do we desire to indoctrinate or force our beliefs upon anyone. Whatever God wants to affirm we believe will be affirmed.
BY GRACE ALONE
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us live together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-9 ESV)
IN CHRIST ALONE
“Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”(John 14:6 ESV)
THROUGH FAITH ALONE
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24 ESV)
FOr THE GLORY OF GOD ALONE
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:17-20 ESV)
When studying the scriptures, Through a historical grammatical approach, VESSEL strives to understand the author’s worldview and intended meaning. We let the text speak for itself, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we repent, submit, and delight in God’s word for mankind. We do not impose dispensations, new definitions, or subjective experience upon the interpretation of scripture, but we do acknowledge that rationality, experience, and history are beneficial to the Christian life.
More than seven years ago, before we were known as VESSEL and even before we became affiliated with The Ridge Community Church in Blue Ridge, Georgia, we started off as a small bible study group called SOAP. Our funny little acronym was only matched in cheesiness by what it stood for… Sorta Adult People. Though it sounded surface level our group was anything but as we met weekly for study, digging into God’s Word and searching for God’s will in our lives. It actually started about 8 months before I got involved. Once I did I quickly saw God at work doing something special in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Within a year of its inception, our bible study group grew from a handful of people to well around 40. Less than a year after I had joined, my friend Justin, who was one of the founding members, left that summer to go back to college and left me in charge of our large group of diverse friends.
For the next 3 years, God entered me into what is now a 7+ year ministry for young adults. The first 3 years I was leading were challenging as it was new territory for a 23 year old believer. We had our ups and downs but God remained faithful to us as we grew together and slowly affected those around us. We studied the word, took trips together, and had a myriad of adventures in those days. After about 3 and a half years Justin who stayed in contact all this time and visited when he could, graduated from college and became Youth Pastor at the Ridge Community Church there in Blue Ridge. Around this time our group became divided with one half desiring to stay a small intimate bible study and the other half, which my wife and I were included in, wanting to grow the ministry and spread our impact over the North Georgia area for all young adults desiring community and discipleship. Justin felt the same way and so we married our half of the group with The Ridge’s young adults and turned SOAP into The Ridge College Ministry.
The next year and a half, our group went from about 10-15 people and jumped up to around 30. We met at the church where Justin and myself co-lead our group doing similar things to what we had done through SOAP. Near the end of that year and a half, we had looked at becoming a non-profit and sought out local church donors and other individuals to help get it started. We would be a resource for the church community and the counties we lived in. We even looked at a building to rent for a base of operations. However, a friend of ours who knew how to set up a non-profit, which we both lacked experience in, became quite busy with his business and so our plans to become a non-profit were halted...at least for a little while.
Justin ended up, through a series of God-inspired events, moving up north to pursue a massive college ministry that was perfect for him and his wife. And so the next two and a half years I took up sole leadership once again of the ministry. Up until 2018 we went back to being a small bible study. Our group was mostly new students and many fresh to Christianity which was new for the ministry. But over this last year, with a lot of help and prayer from The Ridge Community Church, we expanded in size and influence as we started hosting large scale events to reach more people. God brought in new students gradually over the year through everything from invites from existing students to the events we hosted. We saw our dream of impacting students through discipleship and community becoming more and more of a reality.
Now in 2019 through sacrifice and God’s goodness, we have finally become a non-profit organization that now partners with church’s and faithful individuals as we support the church via guiding these young adults in such a way that they return to their churches, jobs, homes, and, schools encouraged to better serve in a way that furthers the great commission given to us in Matthew 28 by Jesus. Whether churched or not, these young adults need a community their age and it is our great hope to empower them in such a way that they better connect in the places God has already placed them, appreciating all that God has given them in His bountiful blessing.
And so we ask three things from those looking to support us:
Pray! It proceeds every process.
Refer! If you know of a student in need of community and discipleship we would love to connect with them.
Donate financially! As we expand our ministry and reach through everything from service projects to local bible studies, we also rely on generous hearts of those God has called to support us through His resources.
Thank you for taking the time to read over this statement in order to see our hearts for God, young adults, our community, and the body of Christ that extends across every ocean.
If you have any questions or are trying to connect you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Serra Jr.
Young Adults Minister and Founder