What in the world is an “axiom”?
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe… and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47 NIV).
The University of Illinois is HUGE. There are more than 40,000 students here studying hundreds of different majors. We are a Big Ten university with the largest Greek system in the world. We boast over 800 registered student organizations (RSOs) and a vast number of intramural sports teams. In the middle of all the soy bean and corn fields of central Illinois awaits millions of opportunities for students to make the most out of their education and their life. There are also millions of temptations. Statistics vary, but it has been said that the majority of students who begin college already knowing Jesus, walk away from their faith within the first year, and there are many, many more who don’t have a faith to walk away from in the first place.
Axiom is just one of the many RSOs on campus, but we have something different to offer than the majority of them, something “of greater worth than gold” (1 Peter 1:7). We have faith in Jesus Christ, and we want to share that with the world.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ll fill you in: Axiom is a Christian ministry located on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. We have a house on the corner of Lincoln Ave and Oregon St in Urbana where some of the guys in our ministry live, where our staff works, where our students gather and fellowship, and where we hold worship every Thursday night at 7pm – whoa, was that a plug for worship every Thursday night at the house at 7pm? Weird… Axiom is a campus ministry that desires to support students as they run towards their passions, and more poignantly, to encourage them to be passionate about Jesus Christ. We, at Axiom, are constantly looking for new, unique ways to reach out to our campus and to meet the needs of the students who find themselves at U of I, Parkland College, or in the surrounding areas. In the last few years, God has been moving in some truly incredible ways on campus and within our ministry. Axiom has been experiencing unprecedented growth; God has really been challenging us to place our trust in Him and dream big dreams. It’s all we can do to keep up, but we’re loving every minute of it!
We currently have five beautiful, Christ-centered ministers at Axiom: Aaron Bird, Mary Baird, Rebekah Songer, Benjamin Woods, and Gary Umphrey. I can say with full confidence that each of these five individuals not only has a heart for God and for His work, but more specifically, they each have a heart for God’s work on campus. We, as students, are incredibly blessed to have such a wide range of life experiences, from an insurance salesman to a rock star, from whom to draw advice, guidance, and support. In addition to our lovely staff, we also have seventeen students on the Servant Leadership Team (SLT). As you’ve probably deduced, these guys and gals are student leaders who, along with members of our ministers, are in charge of a variety groups within our ministry, such as the service team, the worship team, Lifegroups, and English Corner (you can find out exactly who’s who at the Axiom website – www.illinoisaxiom.com – under the “Contact” tab). Each member of our SLT is desperately in love with Jesus, and is looking for ways to pour out His love on campus.
Yikes, we’re already four paragraphs in, and I still haven’t answered the initial question: what in the world is an “axiom”? An axiom is: an accepted, established, and self-evident truth; Jesus Christ is an axiom. In fact He is the axiom. It’s like what Paul said: “…since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Ro 1:20). The truth of our Father’s eternal goodness and our Savior’s unending love is undeniable, and as plain to see as the sunrise, as easy to feel as a breeze, and more beautiful than the stars. Christ is the only reality. Thus, Axiom, notice the capital “A” here, attempts to be a representation of that truth and that reality.
As humans, it is so easy to get caught up in the world we see all around us; to be sucked in to thinking that we are a big deal. Distraction is everywhere. At any given time there are a million different things asking for, and sometimes demanding, on our attention: school, work, friends, family, bills, deadlines, grocery shopping, your sorority/fraternity, your honors society, your volunteer organization, your roommates, TV, video games, the internet, the bars, parties, and, especially when you’re a student, sleep. Now, I’m not saying that these in and of themselves are negative distractions, but the point is, sometimes it gets a little difficult to remember what it is that we’re doing here. For me, Axiom is a place where I am reminded of my center, of my true purpose. It’s a place where I know that I have made friends for life because my friends have become my family. It’s a place that is teaching me how to lead by being a follower of Christ. Axiom is where I go to be challenged, encouraged, comforted, poured into, loved on, and cared for. And, in turn, it’s where I go to be all of those things for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Axiom reminds me that there is a world out there that’s much bigger than me, and much bigger than U of I, and that world is desperately in need of Christ. What I’m trying to say, is that for me, and for quite a few others, Axiom is home.
On a typical Thursday night, our annex (where we hold worship) is filled with students who have gathered for one purpose: to worship our Creator and Savior. It’s one of the few places on campus where you walk in the front door and are greeted with a smile, a handshake, and maybe even a hug, from someone who loves you simply because Christ loves you. And the best part is that this love – Christ’s love – is the most real thing in the world; the only truth.
In case you were wondering, the point of this blog is to keep all of you up to date on the goings on at Axiom. And, yes, I am a real student at UIUC. My name is Taylor Pinion and I’m a junior majoring in History and double minoring in English and International Studies; after graduation, I hope to write, although I’m not sure in what context as of yet. Most entries here will be written by students about students and their pursuit of Jesus Christ. We hope that you are as jazzed about what God’s doing on our campus as we are, and that you would pray for our ministry and our students- that God would always be our center, our guide, and our purpose.