A Professor's perception of Front Porch

God is Love

I may not remember much of what they tried to teach me in Sunday school those many years ago, but I do remember the three words on the front wall of the room.

I doubt that any words have had as great an impact on my outlook on life and my view of the world.

Three words, nine letters.

As I read the Gospels I notice that Jesus did not limit his love and blessings to Jews. He healed people from Gadara, Phoenicia and Samaria. He loved sinners, prostitutes and Centurions. He didn't check to see if they were members. He didn't check to see if their dues were current. He didn't require people to believe as he believed. Jesus loved people and gave his blessings freely.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were a place where college students could see other young people modeling Jesus behavior?

That is the dream of Pastor Joel Drenckpohl the Director of Front Porch Ministries. Front Porch is an unusual if not unique campus ministry, which is literally located on the edge of Cal Poly's campus. Joel encourages students at Front Porch to welcome, accept and love everyone who walks through the door because they believe that is what Jesus would want them to do. Is there any better way to attract young people to Jesus than to act like Jesus?

And guess what? Consistent with Joel's rather idealistic dream, Front Porch has become a place where college students are welcome, accepted and loved by other young people who see Jesus as a role model.

How does Front Porch get students to walk through the door? Just as street lights attract moths, Front Porch uses coffee and food to attract students to the light within its walls. Approximately 400 students pass through Front Porch's coffee shop every day. About 250 take advantage of the Wednesday night dinner. One hundred students volunteer to assist Joel with his ministry and 70 students typically participate in the weekly worship service.

Unlike a typical congregation most of Front Porch's congregation are not in a position to support its ministry. But then again Front Porch is unlike any ministry I have ever seen.