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"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope...
May 13, 2024

Christian Organizations Host Historic Campus Event with Francis Chan 

by erin conner, writer and communications associate

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." -
Ephesians 4:4-6 (ESV)

Monday evening, May 6, 2024, was a chilly evening in Palo Alto, yet the glow of the lights and the warmth of the love lit up Meyer Green in the heart of Stanford's campus as approximately 200 Christians gathered to exalt the Lord in unity through worship and prayer. 

This historic event, entitled "ONE," was the result of prayer by Christian alumni, students, and leaders for the light of Jesus Christ to be publicly expressed as a beacon of hope in the midst of this highly secular campus. The event was a collaborative effort of six Christian ministries on Stanford's campus: the Catholic Undergraduate Student Association, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Action, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, Parakaleo Christian Ministries, Moment Christian Fellowship, and Christian Union Caritas. 

Justin Woyak, a ministry fellow for Christian Union Caritas, was at the heart of leading and praying for God's desire for this event. Woyak kicked off the event, welcoming the crowd and inviting all attendees to walk in oneness and unity with each other and with the Lord. When asked about the significance of holding this kind of event, he shared his deep felt gratitude for all who made it possible, saying, "Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Action volunteered their normal weekly meeting time and invited so many students. The leaders of Parakaleo faithfully inspired our prayer meetings before the event. A team from Moment Christian Fellowship brought together an amazing audio, visual, and lighting setup. Chi Alpha’s student worship united our hearts to the Lord and one another powerfully through song. Local pastors exhorted us from their word and from their walks with Jesus. A Stanford administrator and leader among the Catholic community led us in heartfelt, carefully written prayers, in a call-and-response style.

Woyak continued, "And the highlight of the night—over a dozen students from six different campus ministries took turns leading all of us in prayer on topics God profoundly placed on their hearts. God gave us a beautiful experience of the 'one body' in Christ."

The event began with a time of worship music during which the crowd united their voices to sing praises to the Lord, collectively shifting their focus from "self" to fixing their eyes on the Author and Finisher of their faith. Students and facult around campus likely heard these students exalting the Lord's name above any other name: above circumstances, injustices, heartbreak, anxiety–above it all. 

Francis Chan was, then, welcomed to the stage by two student-athlete emcees. Chan is the best-selling author of Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell, You and Me Forever and the host of the BASIC.series, "Who Is God & We Are Church." Chan, who plants churches in the San Francisco area and recently launched a countrywide discipleship movement called "Multiply" with David Platt, spoke about how God changed him in his college years and how that time with the Lord was the start of it all for him. Chan cast a vision of a lifelong pursuit of loving the Lord, reflecting on and sharing God's amazing goodness. He passionately prayed, as he looked out at all the faces in the crowd, that God would move in these students' hearts the way He moved in his own.

Following Chan's message, students from each hosting ministry shared a prayer request. Two or three students from each Christian ministry went to the stage to present a topic that they felt led to pray over their campus. One student leader powerfully came forward with tears in her eyes and said that what God had placed on her heart was to pray for the salvation of everyone in the community. During the prayer time, students gathered in a small groups of three to five, often with people from different ministries. In so doing, believers from different backgrounds and denominations united as brothers- and sisters-in-Christ to lift up the needs of all the people in their community to the God who hears. 

This time of prayer also included a Spirit-led altar call, during which a student leader invited those in attendance to dedicate or re-dedicate their lives to the Lord. Author and speaker, Vince Vitale then shared a story to end the evening about the power of reconciliation to each other and to God in our lives.

Susan Brown, women's ministry fellow at Christian Union Caritas, said, "the murmuring of the crowd served as a concert of public prayer that was incredibly sweet to hear. It was precious and powerful to come together and pray and declare we are one body." A student walking by asked Brown, "What is going on here?" to which she said, "This is a gathering of Christian students who are praying for all of the students in the Stanford community– for their relationships and for their peace and praying against the anxiety and fear that many are battling." Though this student said she was not a believer, she expressed her gratitude for the prayers being offered and the kindness of those gathered. 

What is rather astounding is that this event took place in an environment that has been generally hostile to faith and to Christianity, and it took place during a time when college campuses across the country are experiencing chaos and conflicts from student protests. The observable juxtaposition of Christian worship on Meyer Green and on other campuses across the country against a backdrop of problematic student protests speaks volumes.

“'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8-9).

It is clear that God powerfully and sweetly demonstrated the goodness of His ways on Stanford's campus this beautiful night through the faith and unity of His people. 

 Watch a two-minute video overview of "ONE" here.