What does a real estate office, fraternity house, and a church have in common?
They are all Chi Alpha properties. These places next to campus provide a welcoming space for students and so much can be accomplished in these facilities including Bible studies, worship gatherings, outreach, housing, social events, and a place to study. These settings provide a context for building community and training.
The latest XA facilities procured are all in the state of Texas at the University of North Texas /Texas Women’s University, Denton; Texas A&M University, College Station; and Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
Matt and Allison Liberio are the campus missionaries at the UNT and TWU. As the attendance numbers regularly approached or exceeded triple digits, space began to be an issue. XA had met at local AG churches in the area, but these places were not near the campus. In 2019, a team of XA staff outlined a four year plan and one of the goals was to have a ministry facility near the campus. Matt explained that almost immediately XA began to receive significant financial gifts toward purchasing the building—$3,000, then $5,000 and $8,000 after he spoke at a church on a Wednesday night. Students worked extra jobs and extra hours and raised $7,000.
A church within four blocks of UNT wedged between five large student housing complexes came on the market. The church was an 1,800-square-foot property and 930 square-foot parsonage, on a 1.3 acre lot at a cost of $285,000. A donor contributed $200,000, and by then XA had raised $70,000, so Matt made an offer of $250,000, expecting a counter offer. The owners accepted the offer and XA now owns property not only near in the campus but in the heart of the student housing.
Eli and Mandy Stewart, campus missionaries at Texas A&M restarted XA in 2016 with 10 small group leaders, and after five years they have 175 small group leaders, and 35 in the Campus Missionary-in-Training program. TAMU is the second largest public university in the U.S. with an enrollment of 69,523 in 2019-20. This number represents almost 60 % of the population of College Station (a major city within a city) and AG did not have a church until the XA planting team started a new church, Mountain Valley Fellowship.
TAMU XA prayed and believed God for a half million dollars to purchase and refurbish a 25 bedroom, 12,000 square foot fraternity house. By August 2021 they had raised $460, 000. They put $400,000 down with $20,000 closing costs, and applied $80,000 to renovate. The building is already being used to train graduates to start university ministries, plant churches, and go into the world as missionaries. What was a former fraternity house they are calling the TAMU XA Discipleship School. The value is $1.8 million.
Nick and Paige Hester, serve as campus missionaries at Texas Tech University. In 2019, XA purchased an 8,100 square foot building with plans to renovate bringing the value of the property to $400,000. They were poised to begin renovation when a local credit union needing to expand called to see if XA was willing to sell their recently purchased property. XA sold the property for $400.000. So XA had to quickly find another building. They found a former Lutheran Church turned Real Estate training offices, which was newly remodeled with five offices, a sanctuary, board room, kitchen, five bathroom, $30,000 worth of furniture included, and another 1/3 space available for other use. The entire process was miraculous. They closed on the first building, August 19, and on the new one, August 20. Not only do they have a fully furnished and completed training center — move in ready — they cleared more than $90,000 on the sale.
Besides the obvious context for creating community that builds up Christian student believers and attracts students that have never experienced Christianity, and ongoing discipleship, these XA centers offer training programs for the AGs, the Pentecostal movement in general, and the Christian world community at large. The XA staff leaders and team members imagine XA graduates gainfully employed in diverse fields in the marketplace, as lay leaders and tithing members in the Church, and as called to vocational ministry and missions work.
Related stories: AG NEWS “From Drug Lair to Holy Home,“ by Deann Alford, August 20, 2021, AG NEWS “Chi Alpha Denton Sees Prayers Answered in a Miraculous Way,” by Dan Van Veen, May 25, 2021, and AG NEWS “Campus and City Church Launch” by Deann Alford, October 24, 2016 , and AG NEWS, “Atheist Turned Missionary,” by Rachel Dawn Hayes, September 1, 2016.