Murray Christian Fellowship

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MCF is predominantly sponsored by churches affiliated with the Restoration Movement. The Restoration Movement began in Kentucky in the 1800's around a principle that if Christians would use the Bible as their basis for faith and practice, denominational fighting would die away, and we would see a restoration of the original New Testament model for the Church.  One motto adopted by the founders of this faith movement is this: In essentials unity; in nonessentials liberty; in all things love.  These churches, often called the Independent Christian Churches, are non-denominational. They began to plant campus ministries in the '60s all throughout the Midwest. 

Dean Ross, the first campus minister at MCF, has written a brief history of the ministry in his own words:

"In the month of April [1971] I started my ministry here with Murray Christian Fellowship.  The ministry met in the stucco building at the corner of Olive and 14th.  The students that were involved were from Independent Christian Churches of Western Kentucky. There were about 25-30 students. We were paying rent for the building where the fellowship met.  It was suggested to use our rent money to purchase our own property.  The present property of MCF was on the market to be sold.  Money was collected for a down payment, and we moved in for the next school year.  Area men came in at night and put paneling in the basement with ceiling tile.  We started the school year out in our new building with students living upstairs to help pay the mortgage.

"The ministry consisted of college students and families of the community and professors.  Worship was held every Sunday morning with Bible classes for the children.  The Murray Christian Church was the name of the adult fellowship, and Murray Christian Fellowship was the campus ministry.  There were studies during the week for all ages.  Fellowship meals were held once a month at the campus house, which students responded to very well.  Growth was achieved and 'the Back' worship room was added for more space.  It became a later need for the adults to have their own facilities and ministry.  They moved to the location of Glendale and 16th, planting Christian Community Church.  The campus ministry was on its own as just a campus ministry.

"There are only 15 Independent Christian Churches in the western third of the state. Three of these ran over 100 in attendance.  MCF reached out on campus to not only the students from Independent Christian Churches but to all students regardless of their church background.  
We used at least three slogans over the years to get our message out: 
"We are not the only Christians, but we are Christians only", 
"We are showing how Jesus relates to everyday life", 
and "A Christ-centered ministry based on the Bible". 
From this came questions of all kinds, ranging from how does Jesus Christ relate to science, to art, wildlife biology, etc.  Also just about every question concerning denominationalism came up.  All these questions made me develop students to meet the needs of students.  I also sought help in the summers for added preparations for these classes at Lincoln Christian College. This produced classes entitled Christian Apologetics, How We Got Our Bible, How to Study the Bible, What is Biblical Faith, Sermon on the Mount, Multiculturalism and 1 Corinthians, and The Jesus of History is the Christ of Faith.  All of these classes were offered in rotation of three to four years so the students could get a working faith that could meet the challenge the students were facing in the liberal and atheistic classes taught at the university.  From these classes students have gone on from MSU and MCF to be faithful parents, Bible School teachers, Bible literature writers, campus ministers, ministers, military chaplains, nurses, doctors, professors, missionaries, elders, deacons, and even a U.S. Congressman.

"We were moved by Frances Schaeffer and C. Everett Coop about the abortion issue through their book Whatever Happened to the Human Race?.  Our good neighbor, Miss Roberta Whitnah, decided to sell her property to MCF.  We purchased the property for the purpose of establishing an alternative to abortion.  From this small effort the Life House Crisis Pregnancy Ministry developed for the Murray community.  MCF owns the property, but gave it to Life House to use.  This has grown tremendously in this community, reaching across denominational lines, becoming self-supporting.

"God has blessed this ministry through the years. All the properties are paid off, and we have been debt free for several years.

"The campus ministry also sponsored mission trips to Haiti, Mexico, and to Cookson Hills Children's Home.  These have proved to be so educational and faith-stretching that it should be noted on the student's diploma.  For example, a two-week trip to Haiti helps teach the students about the negative effects of materialism and the virtuous practices of hospitality and generosity.  Through these kind of experiences, the campus ministry has returned students to their home church better prepared for leadership in their church or in the church wherever they will live.  We have also participated in leadership conferences, campus ministry retreats, and conventions.

"MCF was developed to be under the sponsorship of a Board of Directors from supporting Independent Christian Churches. These men and women are elected to rotating terms. These directors handle the finances and general direction of the ministry. They serve as a board much like a board of elders to in the local church. The students have one representative to this board also.

"MCF is a vital arm of the church. It has influenced people throughout the state of Kentucky and other states. It has reached out to countries like Kenya, the Phillipines, Germany, and India. The latest but not the greatest was the election of Bill Redmon to the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of New Mexico. Bill graduated from Lincoln Christian College after attending MCF, and was in ministry in Santa Fe, New Mexico. These are examples of what God can do with people who are serious about the Kingdom of God. From a small campus ministry, many areas of the world are affected for Christ. MCF has shown how Jesus Christ relates to everyday life to the uttermost parts of the earth." - Dean Ross

Dean Ross retired in July, 1996. MCF hired Brian Baldwin as the new campus minister. Brian grew up in Jackson, TN. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and both the M.Div. and D.Min. from Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan, Johnson City, TN.

One of Brian's legacies at  MCF has been the involvement Christian Missionary Fellowship, sending a team every other year to Campinas, Brazil.  When not going to South America, they have developed a similar relationship with Lifeline Christian Mission's Red Sands Christian School in Winslow, AZ, sending a team to work with Navajo children.

As mentioned by Dean Ross above, the Life House Crisis Pregnancy ministry has built a new facility, and no longer occupies the building next door. MCF partnered with Cornerstone Coffeehouse to provide a "neutral ground" for Christians and non-Christians alike to hang out and enjoy excellent coffee. After that season of ministry, MCF began to rent out rooms to female students, making it financially possible for several students to stay in school over the years as well as becoming deeply involved with the daily ministry of MCF.

In 2008, after 12 years of ministry at MCF, Brian received a call to become the professor of Youth and Family Ministries at Kentucky Christian College. After much prayer, the Board called Mike Kerrick to serve as the campus minister. Mike grew up in Paris, IL. He received a B.A. in Bible from Milligan College, TN. He went on to attend Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan in Johnson, TN, where he earned a Master of Divinity. He is married to Sarah (Pierson) Kerrick and they are the parents of Pierson, Joel, and Rebecca.  His prayer is to continue the great tradition of ministering to the students of Murray State.

Part of the ministry under Mike is the expansion of the missions' experience for the students.  MCF has a three year cycle of missions: out of country, Red Sands Christian School with Lifeline, and then an inner city Spring Break trip to one of the larger metropolitan areas that MCF students come from.
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