ONLINE EXTRA: Students getting the HYPE on Sundays

Marlene Brueggemann

Students seeking religion won’t have to leave campus anymore to attend church services.

Helping Young People Endure, or HYPE, will start offering Sunday religious services this semester.

The first one will be held at 10 a.m. on Sunday in the Downing University Center Theater.

Derrick White, the founder of HYPE and a Western alumnus, will lead the service.

“I am going to talk about what some churches don’t want to talk about,” White said.

The service, called “New Generation,” will be open to everyone and is non-denominational, White said.

“Titles are causing walls, instead of opportunities,” White said.

The service will have no strict doctrinal structure and contain a lot of music, but not classical hymns, said Conrad Davies, an office associate in the social work department who is involved in HYPE. The ministry plans to play contemporary gospel, hip-hop and rap music.

“We’re in 2004,” White said. “We got to be diverse, and upgrade to what the world is dealing with.”

There are many things that college students face that need to be addressed, but they don’t receive enough attention from churches, White said.

Davies said typical church services have become social events, have lost their energy and spunk and do not appeal to young people.

“This area, with the youth on campus and in the community, is lacking spirituality,” White said.

People understand the structure of religion, but do not have a relationship with God, White said.

“What I want to achieve is that this nation sees that Christ is still alive through his believers,” White said.

White said he wants students to realize that they are more than they are allowing themselves to be and to form a relationship with God.

Founded by White in 1999, HYPE started out as primarily an African-American ministry. White led the ministry but then moved to Evansville, Ind. in 2000, where he became licensed as a minister at the Nazarene Missionary Baptist church in Evansville.

But White said God called him back to the Bowling Green area in February 2003.

Nashville freshman Kristina HayesCQ is starting to get involved in the women’s bible study HYPE offers and will sing in the choir that will perform on Sunday.

Hayes said she enjoys the modern approach White is taking to things and that she is looking forward to the service.

“I think it is helpful for people who don’t have a car and for people who want something else than their home church, something different, ” Hayes said.

Reach Marlene Bruggeman at [email protected].