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Christian Union has been in the national spotlight for several weeks now. From magazine and newspaper...
March 4, 2024

Christian Union Universities Highlighted  

By Erin conner, writer and communications associate

The Christ and Coffee podcast, led by Dr. Haig Kherlopian, pastor of Church for the Nations, recently hosted Matt Bennett, Founder and President of Christian Union, to discuss Christian Union (CU) Universities. CU Universities is comprised of ten Christian leadership development ministries at nine of the nation's most influential educational institutions: Dartmouth, Brown, Harvard, Harvard Law, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, and Stanford.  During the informal podcast interview, the uniqueness of CU's ministry was discussed, among other topics related to how Christian Union is developing leaders with spiritual depth in strategic places for cultural renewal. 

In the podcast episode entitled "Inside Ivy League Ministry," Bennett discussed how the majority of America’s most strategic universities were expressly founded as Christian colleges. But over the years, these schools gradually shed their religious affiliation and became secular institutions. Bennett referenced research done by James Tunstead Burtchaell, who has extensive experience in American higher education as both a teacher and an administrator.  Burthchaell, in his book The Dying of the Light, "provides case studies of seventeen prominent colleges and universities with diverse ecclesial origins - Congregational, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, and Evangelical. 

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Using published and archival sources as well as first hand interaction with each institution, Burtchaell narrates how each school's religious identity eventually became expendable, analyzing the processes that eroded the roots of these Christian-founded schools. 

Bennett explains the personal and cultural significance of these schools, "I love these universities (I directed a ministry at Princeton for many years before founding Christian Union), including my alma mater, Cornell. It grieves me to see where they are today, spiritually and intellectually. In addition, these institutions, and the ideologies they promote, will shape American culture for decades to come" (ChristianUnion.org).

In the podcast, Bennett not only discussed the secularization of schools, but also how God is stirring up the hearts of students at these leading universities where Christian Union is working to develop devoted Christian leaders. Students involved in Christian Union Universities' ministries enjoy, in part, rigorous Bible courses, personal mentoring, coaching, leadership lecture series, growth and development events, and engaging outreach.

Furthermore, Bennett discussed how Christian Union's tailored approach serves in a variety of ways that resonate with students at highly academic, deeply secular universities. Christian Union's approach is designed specifically to connect with intellectually curious, highly motivated students, and features a strong emphasis on seeking God wholeheartedly. Christian Union emphasizes a seeking-God lifestyle, high-caliber ministry fellows, engaged and networked leaders, and organizational excellence.

Other topics were discussed in this 47 minute podcast, including outpourings of the Spirit, the importance of strong Christian character, and concepts related to spiritual renewal. 

Listen to this episode of the Christ & Coffee podcast on Spotify or Youtube

Watch this four-minute Leaders Matter video to see the remarkable, disproportionate impact that just a handful of universities have in America.

Learn more about getting involved in Christian Union Universities as an alumnus here