[gn_dropcap style=”1″]T[/gn_dropcap]he Christian Challenge ministry at Washburn University exists to help students become Christ followers who are fully devoted to Him, developing in their relationship with Him, and ready to be deployed into their community for Him.
Christian Challenge students are involved in every part of campus life, impacting the culture of Washburn.
[gn_spoiler title=”A BRIEF HISTORY” open=”0″ style=”1″]
In 1996, Greg Gomez and Chuck Tomlinson started the Christian Student Association (CSA) at Washburn University. Greg was the admissions director of the university and Chuck was a tenured professor in the music department. Their desire was to form a group where Christian students could grow and connect with other believers as they strived to live out their fa…ith on the campus. The group was well received, and they immediately saw God’s hand at work in and through the students.
In 1998, Greg took a position at a university in Texas. Chuck saw the need for someone to invest their full time in the students, and invited Craig and Janene Freerksen to fill that role. Craig and Janene started working with CSA in the fall semester in ’98. The next summer, Craig quit his job as they raised their salary to work full time with the students.
CSA originally met in the International House at Washburn. It was a wonderfully historic and comfortable building, with flags of a hundred countries lining the mantle of the huge fireplace. By the fall 2000, it was too small to hold the weekly Thursday night meetings, and the group found a building at 17th and Washburn. The new FourSquare church, led by Paster rick Cloose, let the group use their space for the entire year. The next year, CSA was back on campus, meeting in the Memorial Union.
In the summer of 2002, CSA was renamed “Christian Challenge”, with Kleber Alves designing the new logo. The group continued to meet in the union – and various other places on and off campus when the union was unavailable – until the fall of 2003. Christian Challenge then met for one year in the basement of the Community Church across the street from Washburn University, on 21st.
In the fall of 2004, Christian Challenge found its current home. Originally called “the Shack”, Christian Challenge now meets on Thursday evenings during the school year at 7pm at 1930 SW Gage in “the Peak.” First Southern Baptist Church continues to let Challenge use the building for meetings and many other events throughout the year.
In December of 2009 Nate Goering graduated from Washburn and stayed on as Associate Director of Christian Challenge. He, along with his new wife Kendra, continue to invest in the students at Washburn.[/gn_spoiler]
Craig and Janene Freerksen serve as the Co-Directors of Christian Challenge at Washburn University. They were impacted through the Christian Challenge at Emporia State University where they met and attended together. As they concluded their college careers, they married, and felt the desire to invest in students as they had been invested in. In 1998 they began their work of discipling students at Washburn and continue to serve at the present.