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September 1, 2023

God is at Work Through CU's Freshman Welcoming Campaign

By erin conner

 

The great commission of Jesus Christ, to his followers, is to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

At universities across America, students entering college can discover a culture that seems to silence discourse about existential purpose and meaning; about faith and God. This is especially true at the ten academic institutions where Christian Union serves. To follow the great commission in these contexts requires courage to resist the pattern of this world. 



In the last two weeks, Christian Union student leaders are, indeed, resisting the pattern of this world for the sake of the Gospel. They, along with Christian Union ministry faculty, have planned and executed freshman welcoming campaigns at their various schools. This often requires them to boldly stand in the courtyards of their schools to lovingly invite others to “come and see” what Christian Union has to offer. The ministry provides practical ways to seek, know, love, and follow God. Ultimately, Christian Union's university ministries invite students to come and see what Christ has to offer us all: Life.  

 

In the last week, near the campuses of Brown, Harvard, Dartmouth, Yale, Columbia, Penn, Cornell, Princeton, and Stanford, Christian Union ministry directors have held retreats for their student leaders, equipping them to plan and execute powerful outreach events that attract the presence of students, as well as the presence of God, during the first month of the academic year. 

 

As a result, Christian Union has invited freshmen to come and see a glimpse of the love of Christ through numerous types of leadership, social, and outreach events. Stories from these events are being reported across these campuses, testifying of God’s movement there. 

 

At Cornell through CU Vita in the last two weeks, an astounding 180 individual meetings have been held between faculty and freshman students, while 30 freshmen have signed up to participate in Bible Courses. Also, at Cornell, on the first holiday weekend of the academic year, when church attendance is typically down, over 200 students attended one of the on-campus churches, leaving standing room only, with several students accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

At Harvard Law, the 1L’s have met to socialize and build relationships, reading letters written by alumni that offer Godly encouragement, counsel, and strength to this incoming class.

At Princeton, CU Nova’s student leadership is planning to distribute over 1,300 welcome bags with a calendar of 27 Christian Union events intended to connect freshmen with Christian community over the course of the next 27 days of campus life.

At Columbia, CU Lumine has held outdoor activities on campus, an arts and crafts night, and a midnight pancake event as outreach to connect new students and to foster meaningful relationships.

At Penn, CU Martus held their first leadership lecture series with over 50 students in attendance.

At Yale, CU Lux planned for 80 students to attend their recent kick-off event. However, more than 200 students showed up. 

 

The extraordinary efforts of all CU University ministry faculty and student leaders that have taken place as part of the start of the 2023 freshman welcoming campaign are clearly bearing fruit. In the last week, 634 individual meetings have been held with faculty and first-year students seeking Christian mentorship. 129 freshmen have enrolled in Bible Courses.  

 

Why does Christian Union keep track of numbers such as these? The answer is simple: measuring student involvement provides data that helps shape next steps and decision-making to more effectively meet the needs of students.

Christ’s apostles responded to the great commission and hastened a movement almost 2,000 years ago that transformed the world. All who follow Christ are called to do the same by loving others the way He loves us.

Please pray for Christian Union ministry directors, ministry fellows, and student leaders to continue to align their hearts with the Lord’s and to have strength, peace, and joy as they work toward eternal things. Pray, also, for many students to respond to the invitation to come and see the goodness of the only One who holds to power to transform our lives: Christ Jesus.