Salt and RLC inclusive, not ‘either/or’ options for students

by Lauren Stillman, reporter

Two dominate religious organizations reaching out to a combination of over 100 Simpson students share common thoughts, but differ in their relationship with Simpson. The Religious Life Community at Simpson is supported and run by the college whereas the Salt Company is an outside ministry supported by a local church.

New Heights, the local church that developed Salt, started the ministry with a vision to “engage and equip the next generation to live their lives to please Jesus.” Geoff Safford, teaching pastor of New Heights Church and Salt Company, understands the busy schedule of a college student. He explained the Thursday night services Salt provides serve as the Sunday morning services in churches.

“We know that college students have busy lives, and that time is one of the most precious resources they have. We want to provide a Biblical perspective in a worship environment, and think that Salt Company provides that.”

The Religious Life Community (RLC) has two distinct visions to serve a wide collection of beliefs held by college students. The Mission statement of the RLC is “engages the Simpson College Campus through two integrated yet unique expressions: the Christian expression and the Interfaith expression. 

The vision for the Christian Expression of the RLC is “guided by foundational Christian beliefs, we create space for persons to grow individually and together in love and knowledge of God.”

Chaplin Mara Bailey believes the relationship with the RLC and Salt should be both/and rather than an either/or.

“The way we have set things up for the chaplains office and for religious life is to say that we have a student program that is very strong here on campus, we are always willing to try new things, but it needs to be a part of what happens on campus,” Bailey said.

Bailey believes it is important RLC does not promote one particular theology or viewpoint. Her goal is the make sure every student seeking a spiritual home can find one. 

“I say this in a respectful way, it is not another pastor’s job to do that, it is my job.”

Salt Company is committed to a Biblical worldview. The teaching is focused on what the Bible teaches as true and authoritative.

“We know that what we teach is exclusive in that we believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)” We also strive to be inclusive in that we invite anyone, from any point of view, or religious background to join us in our faith community.”

“As a church in Indianola, we want to provide a faith community for everyone, and be a church that strives to reach all generations. This includes Simpson students, so we want to reach out to them as best we can,” Safford said

Bailey wants every voice to be heard, and feel safe, so a top priority of hers is to stay in close connection other pastors on campus. 

“I have met with Geoff several times to talk about and to show our appreciation for the ways that New Heights as a congregation has supported students and their faith through a ministry like Salt,” Bailey said.

“I am so thankful for RLC and all that they do on campus to help students stay connected to their faith. Mara and her team do a great job of touching many students. We are excited to partner with RLC in ways that help those that are in need. We realize that we will not be able to reach onto the campus in ways they can-and for that we are grateful!” Safford commented.