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Redefining Church

Redefining Church

An Interview With Lynelle Bathan and Matthias Bernard, Co-Pastors of the Revival Project 

By Matthew Peinado 

With the abundant supply of churches students could attend any Sabbath, it may seem odd that another student church has been founded this year. The Collegian sat down with Revival Project co-pastors Matthias Bernard and Lynelle Bathan to understand exactly what the newest ministry is and who it’s for.  

The following is a transcript that combines the two interviews about the Revival Project. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity. 

Q: Could you say your name, class standing, and major? 

Lynelle: My name is Lynelle Bathan. I am a sophomore theology major. 

Matthias: My name is Matthias Bernard. I am a senior theology major.  

Q: What is the Revival Project?  

Lynelle: The Revival Project is a service-based student church. We focus a lot on challenging ourselves to see the divine in everything.  

Matthias: We are a new student-led church on campus that takes a more practical approach to ministry. Instead of your simple, basic, consumerist coming to church, getting your Jesus, and leaving, we practice a flow.  

Q: What is the flow? 

Lynelle: It’s a four-week rotation that we use for our services. The first week, we engage with social issues in a more conventional church service. The second week is a service Sabbath where we go out in the community and try to alleviate some of the problems of the issue we studied the week before. We then have a day of gratitude the third week in which we recognize all the blessings the divine has given us in regards to the issue. On the fourth Sabbath, we have a wrap-up session where we talk about how we should move forward as individuals.  

Q: Is that what you would say the Revival Project offers that other churches on campus don’t? 

Matthias: Yes, it’s very different in the way that we’re not trying to put on a production every week. We don’t try to stress about who’s going to sing, or who’s going to preach, or who’s going to collect offering. We learn, we serve, we practice gratitude, and then we build.  

Lynelle: I think a lot of modern churches focus on making cooler and cooler productions. That’s not anything bad, but the Revival Project tries to focus on making church more about people all the time.  

Q: What is the topic for this flow?  

Lynelle: Right now we’re talking about God’s creation. Today, that’s linked to environmental justice. Our first week, we talked about what exactly that means for Christians today. Our second week, we did an alley cleanup in a low-income neighborhood. The third week we read the creation story, prayed over the earth, watched a nature documentary, and expressed our gratitude for God’s creation. That might sound a bit odd but it expands our idea of what worship can look like. The last week will be all about how we can continue to be advocates for environmental justice as individuals moving forward.  

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Q: What inspired you two to create the Revival Project? 

Lynelle: I wanted to see a church that offered a way to connect with the divine in ways that you haven’t seen before. One of our main goals was to find a way to make a church for people who don’t want to go to church but still want to connect with God.  

Matthias: When Lynelle and I sat down we both just had this dream about not just having church but creating a space where people could respond to and be grateful for what we engage with. We really wanted to practice Christianity as a whole, not just the usual weekly service. 

Q: Is there anything else students should know about the Revival Project? 

Lynelle: I think going into this, it’s easy when you hear something different in the church to question, doubt, or even dismiss as sacrilegious. I just want to encourage the student body to be open to experiencing new things and discovering new ways of connecting with God. 

Matthias: If you want to get involved, go to our Instagram page @the_revivalproject21 and click on the Google doc which will help connect you with us. You could also shoot us an email or if you see us around campus, come up and talk to us. I also want all students to know that this church is your home. This is a church for everyone. It’s for all students of all backgrounds and identities. [1-2] 

When the Revival Project meets for their on-campus services, they are in the SAC at 10:30 on Saturday mornings. Come as you are.  

References 

  1. Interview with Lynelle Bathan, 10/21/21.  
  1. Interview with Matthias Bernard, 10/20/21. 
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