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Christian Union: The Magazine
March 15, 2022

CU Nova Offers Two Weekly Leadership Lecture Series

By Leah M. Smith, Princeton ’22

In the fall semester, Christian Union Nova’s TruThursday leadership lecture series focused on various aspects of love. TruThursday, which meets on Thursdays evenings, “exists to exemplify the gospel while celebrating African, African-American and Caribbean culture.” The fall topics—Loving the World, Loving Your Friends, Loving Yourself, and Loving Your Family—featured virtual and live speakers.

Christian Union Nova’s Encounter leadership lecture series, which meets on Friday nights, hosted an array of topics in the fall, but the central theme was Seeking God. The mission of Encounter is “to create a permanent space for students to gather and encounter the character, Word and love of God through worship, fellowship and teaching.” Fall semester lectures focused on the Seeking God lifestyle, the importance of the Word of God, the importance of our witness to others, and the importance of a personal relationship with Him.

Princeton, New Jersey - October 15, 2017: Princeton University is a Private Ivy League University in New Jersey, USA.

It is wonderful that CU Nova is able to offer multiple leadership lecture series at Princeton University. Not only does it provide care and space to exemplify the gospel for as many people as possible on campus, but each series provokes great discussions and dialogue within the community and the messages often intersect.

Regarding the TruThursday topic of love for the fall semester, Tamilore Ajeigbe, a member of the leadership team and a senior from Newark, Delaware, said, “Love is such a central point of the gospel and serves as the foundation for all relationships. Being in church services, we, many times, only hear about love from the romantic standpoint; [At TruThursday,] we really wanted to get words on love that had nothing to do with romantic love, especially because (loving) friends, family, and yourself are themes that everyone deals with.”

Ajeigbe elaborated on how awesome it was to see “each series hit students every week,” and she recalled, with a smile, “the looks of conviction on people’s faces.”

“Those lessons opened up a sea of vulnerability inside us, so we were able to be open with each other. The series was a great success… I know for me, I needed to hear those themes each week specifically, which just speaks to God’s power through it all.”

Another TruThursday Leadership Team member, Kennedy Collins ’22, said her perspective of love changed after the series.

“Through the series, God continued to show me how He loves. I continue to learn how expansive God’s love truly is; it does not only represent itself when we feel joy, light on our feet, or teary eyed in worship, but also shows up so boldly in our weakness, in our panic, in our despair, in our chaos,” said Collins, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Collins also reflected on how opening her heart to God’s love makes her feel “seen and taken care of.”

“I am so grateful to God for showing me what true love is in this season. I have learned that God’s love looks totally different from what the world we live in calls love. God’s definition of love is selfless and sacrificial rather than self-seeking. In our relationships, it challenges us to shift our mindset from ‘what one can receive’ from others to ‘what can one give.’ It is not based on fleeting emotions or even circumstances, but on the confidence of God’s ability to transform and make new.”

Selena Hosteler, a junior from Coldwater, Michigan and the point-person on the Encounter leadership team, said the combination of attending both TruThursday and Encounter in the fall made quite an impact on her.

Hosteler’s favorite Encounter lecture was from Dr. Chuck Hetzler, director of Christian Union Day and Night and a former ministry fellow at Princeton University.

“[Dr. Hetzler] empathized with students' experiences and challenges with rigorous coursework,” but also reminded them of their true importance on campus, “being diligent about loving the Lord, valuing relationships, friends and being present in Christian community.”

Hosteler noted how she has grown as a leader during this academic year and how God’s provision uniquely prepared her to serve on the Encounter team during a time when in-person meetings once again returned to Nova.

“I’ve felt the most driven to serve by seeing how God has positioned me to lead for this specific season. I was able to attend lots of in-person Encounters during the fall semester of my freshman year, was a regular at virtual TruThursday, trained with the Virtual Encounter team, and had close connections to the Worship Team. It felt obvious that the Lord had been preparing my heart in leadership skills over the virtual season, and so I felt like I had been given all the pieces I needed to lead Encounter in person,” she said.

Thanks to the faithfulness of leaders like Hosteler, Collins, and Ajeigbe, the TruThursday and Encounter lecture series are helping students walk in love, and seek and serve the Lord. Though God may lead them in difficult spaces and ask them to grow in different places, there is something beautiful about living in community and doing His work, they agree. There is meaning to be found in the daily toil, love to be poured out like living water on work and relationships.

RELATED: Want to go deeper in your faith? Click here to receive a free download of Christian Union’s "Seeking God Lifestyle” Bible Course Manual.