The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Pinelake church offers students community

Upon   first glance, Pinelake appears to be a conventional Baptist church as greeters outside welcome people as the congregation files in for either the 9:15 a.m. or 11 a.m. service. But walk inside and talk to the nearest member, watch the screen roll down, on which a pastor preaches from the satellite campus, or discover the church beyond Sunday mornings, and people soon discover what sets Pinelake apart.

The first multiple-campus ministry in Mississippi, Pinelake began in Jackson. Upon discovering congregation members would travel from almost an hour away,  it decided to open in Madison. This quickly expanded into a five-campus church with the Starkville location opening in 2011.

Loren Aldridge, a college small group leader, said community relations make the church unique.

“Pinelake values lifting up its community in any circumstance. The members invest in all who attend,” Aldridge said.

Beyond the general congregation, the opportunities for college students are especially beneficial. Students who lose individual attention or connection in large churches can find community at Pinelake.

Haley Wheeler, a sophomore nutrition major, began attending with her older sister and said the church focuses on the individual rather than the crowd.

“Pinelake cares about faith and changing lives, not numbers and show. They spend time talking about how the sermon applies to your life specifically,” she said.

Students may have difficulty finding time to attend church, but the new college small groups aim to connect with everyone.  Daniel Scoggin, Pinelake youth pastor, first began attending as a Mississippi State University student, then went on to an internship at the Reservoir campus. He has returned and said he aims to bring new interest for college-age Christians.

“We    place a high priority on         connection in transparent and honest relationships. I believe that college small groups, specifically, are an opportunity to engage, sharpen faith and provide support in our struggles,” Scoggin said.

Aldridge said college is a place where it is easy to be caught up in stress and lost in the thousands of people, but Pinelake provides an oasis.

 “College is not an easy time of life. Now more than ever we need accountability and motivation to run the race with endurance,” she said.

Along with Aldridge, there are numerous group leaders of varying ages, experiences and knowledge who are all committed to helping students find their niche. Meetings vary in location and time in order to fit a group’s specific needs.

With  its close proximity to a service-minded university, Pinelake provides another way for MSU students to expand their reach. Scoggin said students interested in serving or just in experiencing communities beyond Starkville have the opportunity to participate in   national and international missions.

 “All of our college students should be a part of a small group, participate in missions, be a part of Passion, serve within the church and even pursue church membership,” he said.

For students seeking a fresh perspective on a Sunday tradition, this church just might be the answer.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Pinelake church offers students community