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April 19, 2022

Fondly Remembering An Evangelistic Blitz from 1985

By Tom Campisi, Managing Editor

Christian Union is currently in the midst of an ambitious evangelistic initiative called CU Rise, which includes social media campaigns and outreaches at the nine universities where it hosts leadership development ministries. CU Rise will run for eight weeks.

“We want the name of Jesus to be the most talked-about name on our campuses this spring,” said Adrian Schoonmaker, Vice President of Christian Union Universities.

And that’s a remarkable thing—to proclaim the good news of the gospel, via Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, or in-person, with students at Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. The fruit from CU Rise will impact lives and echo throughout eternity. I speak this truth, not only as a Christian Union staff member, but from personal experience.

In 1985, I was a junior at Trenton State College (now known as The College of New Jersey) when a campus ministry held a similar evangelistic campaign. I will never forget the excitement when Pete (my roommate from the previous year) came to my dorm to tell me about a man he just met in the student center. It was similar to the scene in John 1:40-41 when Andrew meets Jesus and tells his brother Simon about the encounter.

Pete was having a really bad day when a ministry director approached him and started sharing the gospel. The reason he rushed to find me was due to our long talks about the meaning of life when we were roommates. Pete was basically telling me, “I have found what we are looking for.”

That night, Pete and I attended an event hosted by that ministry. We met Christians from our campus and started attending a weekly Bible study. The questions we had asked about the meaning of life the year before were answered and more—we were invited on a journey to live a truly abundant life (John 10:10).

Although it took a few years to finally be all-in for Christ, part of a good church, and serve in ministry, that campus outreach back in 1985 was a defining moment in my life. The seed of the gospel that was planted that fall blossomed into much fruit for the Kingdom of God over the next thirty-seven years. When I think about how God has blessed me over the years, with a great wife and family, and by allowing me to use my writing and editing gifts, I am thankful for all the people he used to influence me. It is reminiscent of what Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

Matt GradCU Magazine Managing Editor Tom Campisi ('88) and his son Matt at The College of New Jersey's commencement in 2021. I am eternally grateful that a campus ministry at Trenton State College dedicated its time, talent, and treasure to seek those who are lost and made a concerted effort to reach as many students as possible.

Today, as I consider CU Rise, I am praying that this kind of moment can be multiplied for students at some of the most influential universities in the United States. May their tough questions be answered. May their wounds be healed. May they, like the prodigal son, come home. God only knows how many destinies will be changed.

May CU Rise yield a mighty harvest and much fruit on campus and beyond!

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.