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Christian Union: The Magazine
February 8, 2021

Watt ’22 Is a Gracious Host and Leader

By Tom Campisi, Managing Editor

The extraordinary leadership of Caleb Watt has helped Christian Union Martus stay connected and in community for the last year, especially during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic at the University of Pennsylvania.

Although the ministry has been limited in regards to in-person activities, the junior physics major has helped lead virtual prayer meetings, Bible courses, and book discussion groups. Watt is also the host of the Faith and Action podcast, where he and co-host Leo Chen ’22 interview one of the CU Martus student leaders during each session.

Caleb Watt photo editedCaleb Watt '22 Interviews Tommy Kumpf '20 during a podcast.

“How has Jesus played a role in your life?” Watt recently asked Noah McQueen ’22 during a podcast.

Watt said the power of testimony is a staple of the podcast and helps to encourage CU Martus members and other listeners. It also helps members of the student executive team tell their unique stories to the larger ministry. The inspiration for highlighting testimonies, Watt said, came as he met over meals with members of CU Martus and his home church.

“We would share testimonies and things God has been doing in our lives,” he said. “What was incredible to me about these conversations was that these people were so willing and open to sharing with me despite some of them being mere acquaintances. We would always end up encouraged by the stories we shared.”

The mission of the Faith and Action podcast is “to point people to God by connecting them to a gospel-centered community that is Christian Union,” he said.

Watt said one of the highlight's of this year's podcast was interviewing alumnus Tommy Kumpf '20, who served as a key leader with CU Martus and co-hosted the program with him during 2019-20.  

Tucker Else, Christian Union’s ministry director at Penn, said Watt’s seeking God mentality and compassion make him a great leader and podcast host.

“Caleb passionately pursues holiness,” Else said. “He is not quick to speak, but is quick to listen. When he speaks, he speaks with gravity.”

For Watt, being associated with Christian Union since his freshman year has been a blessing. He noted the mentorship provided by former Ministry Fellow Fuji Kim and how watching the example set by upperclassmen helped him mature as a believer.

“People took the time to look out for me, answer my questions, care for me, and teach me the Word. They have played a massive part in my growth and understanding of God,” he said. “Eric Hoover ’19, a student Bible course leader, and my friend, Paul Um ’20, have played large roles in teaching me how to approach the Word and prayer, and what it means to live a life dedicated to Christ.”

Watt is also appreciative of the accountability that being connected in Christian community can offer.

“Being able to gather as a group and discuss any number of topics through the lens of the gospel, with the intent of seeking God, has definitely changed my thinking, humbled me out of various forms of pride, convicted me of sin, and reminded me deeply of God's grace,” he said. “I'm very thankful for friends whom I can confess with, pray with, laugh with, debate with—you name it.”

Today, as a junior, Watt is a key leader for Christian Union Martus, implementing lessons learned over the last three years.

“Christian Union has taught me how to be more convicted in what I believe in, yet also more open-minded and humble towards views that I disagree with; so in essence, Romans 14:1-12,” he said. “I have been taught more so than ever before that God has given each of us different passions and gifts, and they all contribute to the whole mission of the church.”

And Watts’ dependence on the Lord and utter dependability has been noticed by CU Martus’ ministry director. 

“Caleb has been present, visible, and worked to stay out front in a season when it would be really easy (and understandable) to hide,” Else said.

The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year offered unique, unprecedented circumstances for all students. Watt admitted how college life has been affected. He pointed out that studying and learning are more difficult online, and he misses gathering in Christian community for worship and fellowship. But he also thankful that some of the sufferings of this present time have revealed God’s grace in a tangible way.

“The biggest silver lining in COVID-19 with regards to ministry is the fact that our dependence on God to sustain and grow a ministry has been radically revealed,” Watts said. “COVID-19 has definitely been a time of reflection on how much we actually rely on God for ministry and how much we actually desire to obey His calling even in the mundane, day-to-day life of lockdown.”

Whether it is through a podcast or a Zoom Bible course during this trying academic year. Watt’s utter dependence on the Lord and dependability as a Christian leader have not gone unnoticed.

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