Salt Company serves community through devotion to Christ

Student leader Ashlyn West: “When the Salt Company came down, I knew that community was what I’d been waiting for, what I’d been holding out here for, and they pulled me in immediately.”

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Members of the Salt Company support each other as they work together toward spiritual growth. The Salt Company is a college nondenominational Christian ministry connected to the local Anthem Church that works to know, love and obey Jesus, according to its website. Between biblical teachings and service missions, the Salt Company strives to make the world a loving place by “making disciples that make disciples.”

Since last August when the Salt Company was brought to MU, the organization has grown to approximately 100 members, according to student leader Ashlyn West. For West, learning about the Salt Company her junior year gave her a home that she hadn’t yet found at MU.

“I actually spent my first two years in Columbia very lonely and very lost,” West said. “[...] And when the Salt Company came down, I knew that community was what I’d been waiting for, what I’d been holding out here for, and they pulled me in immediately.”

West was immediately drawn to the Salt Company because its goals as an organization complemented her personal values. According to West, it was as if God spoke to her through the ministry’s website that it was the right place for her.

“[The Salt Company is] incredibly different than anything I’ve ever experienced before in any ministry, any organization in general, just the way they care about my soul and my heart,” West said. “You can tell that they’re coming from a different place and you know they’re motivated by the Gospel. They’re motivated by making Jesus known to the individual, to the community and then globally.”

Similarly to West, student leader Jeremy Richmond also found a home in the Salt Company by how inclusive and loving members were from the very first meeting he attended. Finding a group of people with the same spiritual beliefs and personal values was very important for Richmond.

“If you’re looking for community and if you’re looking for a place to love others and be loved by others genuinely and also grow spiritually and have opportunities to serve, so be poured into and also pour out, this is the place to go and this is a place you can grow and be comfortable growing here,” Richmond said.

Richmond made this connection with a member of his Connection Group, which is a small spiritual bonding group. According to freshman Kennedy Unthank, Richmond, who is also his residence hall’s floor Peer Learning Assistant, was the first person he met at MU and encouraged him to join the Salt Company. Unthank said this relationship has been very influential in finding a place he feels he belongs in college.

“My values, they’re not really appealing to a lot of other people ... It’s really reassuring that ... I have [Jeremy] ... right across the hallway who I can talk to about that kind of stuff,” Unthank said.

Unthank believes anyone with internal struggles could attend the Salt Company and talk to someone who would be willing to listen and understand. Richmond has found this to be true when participating in some of the Salt Company’s activities, including a retreat last year to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, one of his favorite memories.

“Just lay down in a canoe with a bunch of people in other canoes and look at the stars in an open area where you can see all the stars at night,” Richmond said. “That’s so special. And like, those kinds of forms of fellowship are really contagious in the way of what it means to believe and grow and knowing Jesus and having him in your life.”

The Salt Company meets in Ellis Auditorium at 8 p.m. on Thursdays and has Connection Group opportunities Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The organization does not have an official building on campus, so Sunday worship is set up on a temporary stage at the Stoney Creek Inn by student leaders. According to Richmond, the Salt Company helps students become kind community members through these activities.

“So the thing that the Salt Company does that’s so good for students is they cultivate the middle way that when they become adults ... they are able to lead out and be good people to serve in a church, be involved and intentional in their spiritual lives, but also just be lights in the world for others to see,” Richmond said.

Edited by Brooke Collier | bcollier@themaneater.com

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