Ben and Michaela Stone both graduated in 2016 from Colorado State University (CSU) with respective bachelor’s degrees in civil and chemical engineering. They married immediately after graduation and are currently both employed by Samuel Engineering in Denver. They, along with several of their friends, have partnered with the Urban Islands Project to plant a church in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver, where they currently live. In addition to their deep love for discipleship, the Stones both enjoy camping in the wilderness of Colorado. Ben and Michaela share how Chi Alpha prepared them to have a strategic impact in the place where they are living.
Describe the impact Chi Alpha had on you as students.
Ben: It was special when the older group of college students took me under their wing, loved me well, and challenged me in a lot of ways spiritually.
Michaela: Chi Alpha was the first time that I found friendship that was founded in anything real. As a new Christian coming into college, this community taught me so much about the heart of God.
How did the discipleship process prepare you for your current marketplace roles?
When we realized that true discipleship was not happening much outside of college, we realized that we needed to fight to bring the process that we learned in college into the marketplace and the neighborhood. This is why we, with a group of our friends, decided to choose a people and a place before a profession.
When we were in college, we were given the opportunity to practice discipling other people in a context where we were 24/7 surrounded by people in the same life stage. Although we have had to adapt the model and methods because we are in the marketplace, we are able to use the core values and experience that we learned at CSU and are beginning to use them today in “real life.”
How has staying connected with fellow Chi Alpha Alumni helped support you in your current life situation?
We get to support each other every day because we have made it a priority to live near each other within the confines of the same Denver neighborhood and meet in official and unofficial capacities every week. This connection with our Chi Alpha community has helped maintain the passion and vision for discipleship, and it’s helped us remember the truth when other voices say otherwise.
Explain what the Urban Islands Project is about. How did you become involved with it?
UIP saw that as the population of cities was increasing, the presence of the Church was decreasing—and they decided to do something about it. Their dream is to plant a church in every neighborhood in a city that is focused on specifically meeting the needs of that mile by mile block. We became connected through some friends at CSU who told us about Steve Pike (founder of UIP) and his dream to see disciples who make disciples who make disciple makers in Denver. We have a team of 12, most of them Chi Alpha alumni, who are living in the same neighborhood to love God and to love our neighbors and co-workers—together. For more information on the Urban Islands Project, visit urbanislandsproject.org.