Christians are supposed to represent Jesus to the world around them. But Christianity has an image problem. Something has gone wrong. Recent studies reveal that young people use words like “hypocritical,” insensitive,” judgmental,” “anti-homosexual.” The picture young Americans have of Christians is they are ”unchristian…” that Christianity is no longer as Jesus intends. (Read “unchristian” by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons for more).
But that is only half of the problem.
Young Christians ages 18-29 are leaving the church and rethinking their commitment to the faith. The Christian community has failed to equip young adults to live “in but not of” the world. The Church has dropped the ball in helping young people understand how to follow Jesus in the midst of profound cultural change. (Read “You Lost Me” by David Kinnaman for more).
Read 2 Timothy 2:2. Now quote it out loud…
The leaders of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship are connecting with the next generation. They are dealing with the immense technological, spiritual, and social changes that define (and even dominate) our times. They are learning how to model and pass on a faith worth claiming in a new context on campus now and in the marketplace later. They are preparing the next generation to live meaningfully and follow Jesus wholeheartedly. They are calling the next generation to rise to the challenge of revitalizing the Church for its mission to the global culture. How?
1. Our staff continue to help students discern the times we live in and embrace the risks of cultural engagement. Many of our Chi Alpha groups are mobilizing young people by helping them match their gifts to a cause they are interested in. UMass Chi Alpha is involved with reducing the impact of sex trafficking and students of all kinds are responding to participate.
2. Our staff helps students leave behind shallow faith by apprenticing them in the fine art of following Christ. University of Virginia Chi Alpha students model transferable spiritual habits that help students experience God and discover who He is, in able to enjoy Him more.
3. Our staff responds to today’s scientific culture by stewarding young people’s gifts and intellect. University of New Hampshire Chi Alpha partners with The Veritas Forum in offering a safe place on campus to debate issues, believe in science and God, and learn how to think.
4. Our staff and students demonstrate the exclusive nature of Christ by rekindling our empathy for the “other.” Our Chi Alpha groups work to connect with those outside the faith to listen to their questions, determine how to “be” Christ to them, and love folks outside their comfort zones.
Chi Alpha staff hear the criticism of the Christian faith raised on campus. They are engaging the unChristian perceptions and hostility. They are constantly tinkering with ways to model and pass on a vibrant, lasting faith, and assist young adults in finding a path to a wholehearted pursuit of Jesus and his ways. Chi Alpha is becoming known more by what it is for, than what it is against.
Chi Alpha’s global mission is reaching students, training leaders, and impacting nations. Serve globally. Pray for us to more accurately represent Jesus to skeptical outsiders and insiders.
Love is a verb,