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Freshmen Launched Prayer and Fasting Team  By Tom Campisi When two first-year Yale University students studied Christian Union’s...
May 2, 2022

CU Rise Campaign Is Proclaiming the Good News to Students

By Tom Campisi, Managing Editor

“What shall you do then with Jesus which is called Christ?”

That was the question posed by preacher Dwight Lyman Moody at his Illinois Street Church in Chicago on October 8, 1871. In the sermon, he paraphrased the question asked by Pontius Pilate in the Gospel of Matthew (27:22). Moody challenged the congregation to think about it during the week and return to church the following Sunday with an answer—would they crown Christ as Lord or, like Pilate and the misguided mob of that time, deny his supremacy? However, as Moody finished his sermon, a warning bell began to ring. The Great Chicago Fire was raging. There was no next week at his church, which burned to the ground like many of the buildings in the city.


older moodyD.L. MoodyAlthough Moody went on to become known as the greatest evangelist of the 19th century, to his dying day he deeply regretted how he once asked his congregation “to come next Sabbath and decide what to do with Jesus.” In his biography (written by his son, William R. Moody), he said, “I have never since dared to give an audience a week to think of their salvation. If they were lost they might rise up in judgment against me. I have never seen that congregation since. I will never meet those people until I meet them in another world. But I want to tell you of one lesson that I learned that night which I have never forgotten, and that is, when I preach, to press Christ upon the people then and there and try to bring them to a decision on the spot.”

The Great Chicago Fire also changed Moody in another profound way. Previously, his ministry was centered primarily in the Windy City with a church, schools, and social programs—but out of the ashes arose a mandate to preach the gospel across the world. Historic campaigns in the United Kingdom and the United States followed.

“This was a poignant time in Moody’s life and the fire forced him to reevaluate his ministry,” according to www.moody.edu. “It was during this time of evaluation he realized he needed to heed the Lord’s call on his life. For years, he had been moving forward and then asking God to support his plans. He knew from this point on, his call was to preach the Word of God to the world.”

In the spring of 2022, inspired by The Great Commission and the spirit of great evangelists like Moody, Christian Union launched its CU Rise campaign on the ten campuses where it hosts leadership development ministries: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Harvard Law School, Penn, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.

CU Rise began on March 13—a social media campaign challenging and inviting university students to respond to the gospel in faith. In addition to using social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube, students and Christian Union faculty are sharing the gospel, inviting students to apologetic events, and fostering relationships where they can pray for people or answer questions of faith. It’s a large-scale campaign designed to help share the gospel with every student at each of these universities three to five times per academic year.

Christian Union’s ongoing mission is to “develop Christian leaders to transform culture.” As Christian leaders at some of our nation’s most influential universities are transformed through Bible courses, mentoring, a seeking God lifestyle, and other initiatives, the world can be changed. Moody once said, “No one can sum up all God is able to accomplish through one solitary life, wholly yielded, adjusted, and obedient to Him.” May it be so on the campuses where Christian Union ministers.

Through Moody, approximately one-hundred million people heard the gospel. He also started schools in Chicago and his native state of Massachusetts. His legacy continues today as future leaders are trained for service in God’s kingdom at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. The nearby Moody Church continues the mission of its founder: Our purpose is to evangelize, edify, and equip people to be true worshipers and effective representatives of Jesus Christ so that we all may “stand confident and unashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28).

Christian Union, like Moody following The Great Fire, senses an urgency to share the gospel with as many students as possible, wherever they may be on their faith journey. These students are only on campus for four years in most cases, and then go on to careers and other pursuits. The time for evangelism is now; Jesus said, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work (John 9:4).”

Will you join Christian Union in praying for lost souls to come to Christ?—that God would indeed flood our campuses with His Spirit and send laborers into the harvest. Through CU Rise, Christian Union will continue to ask the question, “What will you do with Jesus?”

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.