People often ask what drew me to college ministry. I don’t have a great answer, but perhaps one that keeps coming to mind is this. My first week of college was terrible. It was a cold January day, raining of course, and my mom and a family friend were helping me move in. We arrived at the school, which had sent me acceptance letters and scholarships, and they had no record of me being admitted. We ran around frantically from office to office to get things sorted out, found the dorm, met the residence directors, met my roommate who hummed and smelled a little funky, and then my mom drove away. Then it was just me. Alone. To top it all off, my dog had to be put to sleep the next day. It was not a great way to start.
I remember the loneliness the most, but I also remember struggling through my faith. I was in charge of my own life now, how much of a priority would my belief in Jesus be? Don’t get me wrong, little kids all the way to high schoolers have profound faith, at times in spite of the way they were raised. But for so many, college is the first time that they have to prioritize their relationship with Jesus for themselves. Others go to college, they feel that pang of loneliness and they have no relationship with Jesus. Or perhaps they are immediately surrounded by friends and aren’t quite sure how to fit into a community that will be healthy for them. Regardless of the situation, it’s a time in which people deeply need Jesus. If students choose to follow Jesus during their college years, they are going to take steps to build a foundation that will last a lifetime, however the same can be true if they don’t.
I think back to my experience. There was a group of guys who would walk past my room, which I was always in, working on homework or playing video games. They would say “go make friends” and in my head, I would say “I don’t really know how”. After a while, these guys realized I wasn’t going to take the initiative and they brought me into the fold. We became friends and later I was in all three of their weddings. Through the relationship that we built, I have a better understanding of God. I understand the caring nurturing nature of God because of Josh (Exodus 34:6-7). I understand the determined nature of God to see things put right because of Tim (Micah 6:8). I see God’s commitment to truth (1 Tim 2:3-4) because of Ben.
Our goal at Campus Christians is to help people know Jesus more and be better followers of him. The way that we can do that is by helping our students to be like Ben, Tim, and Josh. Reaching out to others and simply building relationships with them. Not with any agenda, but to love them well. My college experience was good because of friends like these. I know Jesus more because of friends like these. But this doesn’t stop here. How can you be a friend like this? Who do you know in your life that you can reach out to and build relationships with? Everyone needs to be drawn closer to Jesus – myself included. This wouldn’t be possible without people who are a little farther along helping me to grow every day.
In everything we do at Campus Christians, we work to live out the actions of the early church. Whether it’s a worship service, small group, meals together, scavenger hunts, or movie nights we work to grow closer to Jesus with our community.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.Acts 2:42
Post was written by Austin Marple, College Minister • Campus Christians
Campus Christians at Pittsburg State University is a non-denominational organization reaching out to believers of all church backgrounds. Our events and programs range from a weekly worship service and in-depth Bible studies and discussion groups to lunches, road trips and coffee houses. Our students have a wide variety of interests and involvement on campus, and it is our prayer that not a day goes by that the students of Pittsburg State are not influenced and encouraged by the ministry of Campus Christians.