Since ancient times, parents have sent their children to academies to mature physically, mentally, and spiritually. As universities developed in medieval Europe, parents assumed that religious training was an essential element of their children’s education. Today, while many secular universities still offer courses about religion, authentic spiritual formation is rarely addressed.
On college campuses across this nation, non-Christian students and faculty are searching for significance – a sort of spiritual anchoring or orientation, for their lives. These seekers long for some witness to a lasting truth, a definite hope. Christian students also yearn for authentic Christian communities where spiritual transformation leads to social change.
This month millions of American and International students begin the trek to college – to take classes, drink coffee, and make choices that will affect them for a lifetime. Best estimates say all U.S. based campus ministries touch only 20 percent of them. What about the other 80 percent? Will students fall into the trap of cultural relativism, materialism, drugs, and sex, or will they encounter Jesus Christ and His path for their lives?
We can never know for sure, but with more than 50 years in the “student” business, we do know that which direction a student chooses depends in large part on who is there to help them make the choice. A “witness” is someone who has seen something, as portrayed in most detective stories or TV crime shows. Our Chi Alpha student communities work tirelessly in their witnessing efforts to share with all people, through both words and deeds, what they have seen and experienced – God’s transformative work in their lives.
Why does Chi Alpha Campus Ministries establish missional communities of worship, fellowship, discipleship, witness, and prayer (see Acts 2:42-47) on campuses in the U.S. and around the world? So that every student and faculty member will know, love, and become transformed by God, and in turn become agents of God’s transformation on their campuses and in this world. This witness is both our heritage and our vision for future ministry. For more than 50 years, Chi Alpha staff have prepared students and faculty to transform their campuses and the world.
Today’s university is an ideological marketplace where tomorrow’s world leaders adopt ideas that affect their personal lives and influence local and global culture. We believe the gospel of Jesus Christ transforms people. We affirm that a dynamic relationship with God is essential for a productive, fulfilling human life. That is why we invest ourselves in the lives of students and faculty in these critical years – reaching and introducing them to Jesus Christ, rooting and equipping to live as his followers, and challenging and sending them to advance the kingdom of God on campus, in the marketplace, and around the world.
Across the nation this month, Chi Alpha staff and students are finishing up and launching preparations to welcome students to their campus. They have two audiences: first, those who have not found their way back to God; second, those who know Christ and need to become more effective reproducing representatives of Him every day. What is your contribution going to be?
Genesis 12:1-3 to Revelation 7:9-10 is clear: We are servants of the Most High God, that His name may become more famous in the student world (and beyond). Think theologically. Then together, let’s reach, root, equip, and send tomorrow’s leaders on today’s campuses.
Love is a verb,