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May 3, 2024

Living for the Lord

Student Spotlight: Brianna Garcia, '27, Christian Union Martus at Penn

by erin conner, writer and communications associate

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."- Romans 12:1

Entering University of Pennsylvania this past fall was an answered prayer for Brianna Garcia. As a first generation student, she will be exploring business related majors in the Wharton School as an undergraduate with a personal mission statement driving her: "My whole life I've wanted to build things for others around the concepts of service and community; I want to build a life that helps others to see the Lord through the works of His people," Garcia said. Although, she does not yet know the specific details regarding how she will get there, it is evident that she will because she is building her life for the Lord and allowing Him to build something beautiful in her and through her. 


Building a life around one's relationship with God and seeing one's work as an expression of love and devotion to Christ is what it means to live for the Lord. It is a radical counter-cultural expression in a self-seeking world. It is a clear expression in Garcia's life.

Christian Union's University embraces the Biblical notion that a believer's relationship with God is the purpose and source of meaning and power in one's life; it is not simply an add-on; the understanding that followers of God are called to build their lives around seeking and loving God, as opposed to simply adding religious activities to a secular life is essential to teach believers, especially in modern American culture. For this reason, Christian Union offers a Bible course entitled the Seeking God Lifestyle to all incoming freshman to help them explore the mindset and practical applications of what it might look like to follow Jesus. 

When transitioning into college life, research is clear that students need to find and develop a sense of community to help find personal security, mental health, and academic success, especially in the rush and rigor of intense academic institutions such as the ones where Christian Union serves. Garcia found her community through Christian Union when she arrived on Penn's campus. CU Martus at Penn's Bible courses, group activities, worship nights, retreats, and leadership roles helped Garcia and other freshman develop the much needed sense of healthy community each college student in America deserves to find.  

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April 30, 2024

The Ultimate Disruptor

Bold University Ministry in America Featured on Canadian Show

by erin conner, writer and communications associate


The Perspective with Mike Sherbino is a ministry with a mission 1) to use television, social media, and radio as a primary way to communicate Christian values, insights and the hope of the gospel to Canada and beyond, 2) to talk about issues related to people's understanding of how faith in Jesus Christ can transform the way we live our lives, and 3) to use their platforms to push back against the secular agenda of our day and provide broadcast platforms for other like-minded ministries doing the same. 

The Perspective has enjoyed a substantial audience across Canada, as this show provides solutions for navigating life’s journey by unpacking scripture through the lens of culture, crisis, and current events. In these challenging times, the message of hope in Jesus, as shared by Sherbino, holds immense significance.

Matt Bennett, Founder and President of Christian Union, recently appeared on The Perspective to discuss what it's like to do ministry at highly secular U.S. educational institutions, specifically this spring.

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April 16, 2024

What is Christian Union?

A Ministry that Equips Tranformative Christian Leaders for Life

By Erin conner, writer and communications associate


Christian Union has been in the national spotlight for several weeks now. From magazine and newspaper articles, television interviews, a podcast appearance, a Worldwide Prayer Meeting at Yale with the Summit International School of Ministry that was live-streamed across multiple countries, and social media ads running from the west to the east coast of the U.S., many people in faith-based circles are asking, "What is Christian Union?" 

Christian Union is a leadership development ministry that works at ten of the nation's most influential educational institutions and beyond to develop and connect Christians to transform culture for God's glory. 

Christian Union (CU) is a unique ministry in that it meets a comprehensive set of needs in our nation's young adults:

1) Christian Union Universities meets the spiritual ministry needs of college students by providing them with one-on-one discipleship, Bible Courses, prayer, worship opportunities, spiritual retreats, and leadership training to strengthen their devotion to and faith in the Lord. 

2) Christian Union America equips and supports these students, as well as other Christian leaders, after graduation with initiatives like mentorship programs, online weekend retreats, Bible studies, Daniel Spirituality coaching, and in person conferences and forums.

Christian Union's aim is to equip and strengthen Christian leaders to wholeheartedly seek God to transform their hearts and minds more unto the image of Christ, and to transform their families, communities, and the nation as a result.

Christian Union Caritas at Stanford University

Christian Union Caritas Ministry Fellow Justin Woyak with two students at Stanford. In addition to the ministry at Stanford, Christian Union has established ministries at nine other highly influential academic institutions.


This is a critical ministry in 2024, as the U.S. is in profound need of sweeping spiritual transformation. Despite the large number of Christians in the United States, the impact of the church in our culture has declined steadily. Furthermore, the predominant worldview in the most influential academic and cultural institutions is profoundly secular, pushing destructive ideologies that contribute to societal disorder.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late last year released data showing that nearly 50,000 people died by suicide in the United States in 2022, reaching the highest number ever recorded and the highest rate since 1941 following the Great Depression. It seems clear that secular messages of human purpose and freedom are deceptively empty, and young adults are struggling with the highest level of depression and anxiety on record.

Christian Union believes Christ Jesus is the only name that holds the power to stop this trajectory and restore people, individually and collectively, back to Life. Thus, Christian Union develops leaders to proclaim His name in places of spiritual darkness. As a result, thousands of students since 2002, when Christian Union started its ministry, have joined CU with a desire to develop and use their talent, faith, courage, intellect, and fortitude to hunger after God and to transform their spheres of personal and professional influence for His glory. Furthermore, many have found salvation through Jesus Christ too. These students' faces and stories have filled the pages of Christian Union's Magazinefor two decades. 


Christians are called to love the Lord with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their mind, and with all their strength (Mark 12:30). Christian Union seeks to help students navigate the challenge, beauty, and implications of this call, not just for the four years they are in undergraduate school, but for the entirety of their lives.


 Consider joining this movement today to help develop Christian leaders and to help America return to God.  


Watch an upcoming interview on the national Christian television show, TCT Today, airing on Wednesday, April 17th, 2024 at 8 pm (ET) or Thursday, April 18th at 6 am (ET) here.  

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March 28, 2024

Nothing is More Loving

Sharing Christ with an "Unreached People Group" at Cornell and Beyond

By Erin conner, writer and communications associate

While students and faculty were protesting in Ithaca's public spaces and headlines were raging with anger and allegations about attacks on freedom in The Cornell's Daily Sun, Christian Union (CU) Vita students were fixing their eyes on the Author and Finisher of their faith. These students recently surrendered their week of spring break to serve the Lord. They are not looking to the right or to the left; instead, they are gazing upon the beauty of the Lord, knowing He is the One who sustains them and keeps them from sinking into the surrounding culture of despair, as they share the Hope that they have in Jesus Christ with anyone who will listen.  

IMG 1758

 

In March, CU Vita at Cornell kicked off Christian Union's spring evangelism campaign by hosting a one-week event entitled "CU Proclaim," inviting students from Yale, Dartmouth, and Columbia to join them. At the beginning of the week, one student shared with Marcus Buckley, the ministry director of CU Vita, that he wondered how he was ever going to be bold enough to share Jesus with complete strangers by just walking up to them. By the end of the week, this same student could not be stopped, asking for more opportunities to go out and share with strangers. Christian Union students, by the grace and power of God, are taking the demonstrative love of Christ into their spheres of influence at their respective schools for the next few weeks, regardless of the darkness of the spiritual climate around them.  


The week of evangelism at Cornell included a worship event at Sage Chapel, during which students accepted salvation in Christ, found freedom from afflictions, and embodied freedom and joy as they worshiped the Lord.  At this open-door event, many students responded to an altar call given, coming forward to confess the need for God's help and healing through prayer for addictions, fear, anxiety, and other mental and physical issues that plagued them. True freedom through prayer and repentance was found that night in that beautiful chapel at the top of Ithaca.  

The juxtaposition of what happened that night in Sage Chapel compared to what is happening on the contentious campus at Cornell is strikingly didactic to any onlooker: the kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14: 17); true stability does not depend upon circumstances,(Psalm 18:2) for the kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21); and freedom does not come from following the ways of the world (Romans 12:2). Christ clearly disrupts the messages and culture of the world to give Truth and life. Christian Union is praying that their efforts this spring will help all who have eyes to see Him at the nine highly secular schools where they minister. 

Despite some of the rejection that students of Christian Union faced during CU Proclaim, they continued to boldly proclaim Truth–Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Lord, and He wants to give all people the gift of salvation, hope, and life. One student shared that he "never experienced so much rejection in his life," during this week of contact evangelism; however, he shared this news with a smile and with a heart of peace, as he had conquered fear of what others might think of him to serve the God he loves.  

In this campaign, students are not just sharing the gospel through contact evangelism, but through other in-person and online means as well. Whether they are distributing literature, posting social media ads on TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram, or hosting highly visible, large group events, student leaders and faculty are devoted to sharing the life-saving and life-giving message of Jesus Christ. 

Online resources that serve as part of this eight-week outreach campaign can be found at curise.org. One such powerful resource from week one,  a Desiring God article written by John Piper, presents nine ways to know the gospel is true.  

Week twoof the online campaign covers questions related to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, including Tim Keller's powerful two-minute meditation on how Jesus' death is an act of friendship. 

In the third week of the campaign, following Easter, Christian Union plans to have "student-on-the-street" video interviews, as CU students and faculty ask questions related to Jesus on their respective campuses. 

The entire campaign, both online and in person, works to expose every single one of the 73,774 undergraduate students at the universities where CU ministers to the power of the gospel. 

In a recent interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Matt Bennett, Founder and President of Christian Union, shared that students at some of America's most influential educational institutions constitute an "unreached people group" with such a low percentage of the student body and faculty identifying as Christians. CBN's article about the interview stated, "Bennett made a sobering statement that underscores the dire state of spiritual affairs and intense lostness at many of these colleges, when he said, 'What's shocking is that, in this audience, you have fewer practicing Christians than you do, say...in mainland China or a lot of other places that we consider unreached.'"

In this interview, Bennett also shared that, in his experience over the last twenty plus years of providing ministry in some of the most spiritually dark places in our country, personal connection, not a campaign is ultimately what inspires an individual to accept the gospel. However, it seems people need to encounter several touchpoints with the gospel before going to a trustworthy Christian in their life with their questions. Consequently, each and every Christian's role is to have the courage to be known as a Christian in their sphere of influence, so that when someone is seeking Truth, they know to whom to turn for direction to find and follow Him. 

Christian Union's boldness reminds all Christians that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the hope of all the world and that followers of God are privileged and duty-bound to proclaim it far and wide in the power of the Holy Spirit. No other message on earth is more important to communicate than the opportunity of reconciliation with God by grace through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. 

Christianity’s mission to the world is love, and nothing is more loving than letting people know how eager God is to wipe away all their sins and to replace death with life, ashes with beauty, and captivity with freedom through faith in Christ.  

Watch the related 12-minute CBN News interview here

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March 18, 2024

Jesus Disrupts: 2024 Evangelism Campaign

CU Rise Set to "Disrupt" Spiritual Climate of U.S. Colleges

By erin conner, writer and communications associate 



In 2022, Christian Union first launched CU Rise, an evangelism campaign designed to share the gospel with students at nine of the nation’s most influential universities more boldly, strategically, and frequently than ever before. This month, Christian Union is at it again, as CU Rise takes form for the third spring in a row with its campaign entitled "Jesus Disrupts."

For eight weeks, starting March 17, the goal of CU Rise is to proclaim the gospel, disrupting the current spiritual climate at highly secular universities that produce a disproportionate amount of U.S. and global leaders. Matt Bennett, Founder and President of Christian Union, recently told the Christian Post that this theme was chosen “to introduce students to how radical Jesus is.”  

columbia students


The schools across the country that this campaign will focus on include Brown University of Rhode Island, Columbia University of New York, Cornell University of New York, Dartmouth College of New Hampshire, Harvard University of Massachusetts, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University of New Jersey, Yale University of Connecticut, and Stanford University of California.


“Students today at the nation’s most rigorous schools are largely unaware of the most important message in the history of humanity. Jesus Christ has brought more good into the world than any other person, and these students deserve to know, said Bennett. "Jesus is also the only one who can forgive sins and transfer us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. We need to do everything we can to give these students the opportunity to believe in Him.”  

Read Christian Post's full article entitled "‘Jesus disrupts’: Christian Student Group to Launch 8-week Evangelism Tour" here


Read FaithWire's related article entitled, "Christian Leader's Sobering Comparision Between Communist China and Ivey League Campuses" here

 
View and share videos, testimonies, or articles from the CU Risecampaign that explain Christianity here

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February 16, 2024

Mentoring Unites Grads Across the Globe

Christian Union Provides Support for Alumni 

By Erin conner, writer and communications associate

Tiffany Agyarko, a civil engineer and Princeton alumna, had many new aspects of life to manage when she graduated in May 2023. In the course of just a few weeks, Agyarko had packed up her life as a university student in New Jersey to move to Houston, Texas, to immediately begin her career.

The one area of her new life that she did not need to invest time and energy into researching was the area of spiritual mentorship. Christian Union had provided this small yet meaningful anchor for her when she relocated. Moving to an entirely new city, sometimes even to a new country, to build a professional life and find a supportive, like-minded community of faith can be daunting. With this in mind, Christian Union established its mentoring program to help ease the post graduation transition.   

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November 29, 2023

For Such a Time as This

A Devotional to Prepare Our Hearts for a New Year

By Dr. Marcus Buckley, Ministry Director at Christian Union Vita at Cornell

"And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”  Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him." -Esther 4:12-17

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November 27, 2023

Seek the Prince of Peace

Join Our 21-Day Fast 

By chuck hetzler, PhD, vice president of biblical theology 

 
Is Israel’s current war a sign of the end times? How should we, as Christians, think about the war? What can and should we do?

 

Christian Union is calling all American Christians to start the year with a 21-day fast, Tuesday, January 2, through Monday, January 22, 2024, to humble ourselves and seek God in light of the current events in the Middle East.

 

The upcoming CU National Fast is titled "Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace for All Nations." Christian Union faculty and staff will write devotionals based on Scripture, which will be sent to all signed-up participants by email each day of the fast. 

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November 19, 2023

Repent, for the Kingdom of God is Near

A Closer Look at Jesus' Call to Repentance

By Erin Conner 

Repentance is a beautiful word. It is the name of the road that leads out of darkness. It is the name of the road that leads to life. It is a Biblical concept that, depending on the type of church we grew up in or currently attend, may seem harsh, foreign, or antiquated. As a true follower of God, deep and ongoing repentance, the act of turning away from sin to wholeheartedly following the Lord, is a life-giving spiritual discipline. 

 

From a deep immersion into Scripture, we find that God never intended for repentance to be a spiritual discipline of the past. God never intended for his people to ignore His commands. In fact, Christ said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) He never intended His people to be “of the world,” obeying the world’s “commands” while neglecting His. (Romans 12:2) We find God never intended self-worship (or any other form of idolatry) to co-exist with the worship of God. From a deep immersion into Scripture, we also find that God never intended for people to go through the motions of repentance without a contrite heart.  

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November 2, 2023

They Will Know Us by Our Love

College Students Struggle as Israel-Hamas War Continues

By erin conner

 

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." -John 13:35

Many of our nation’s colleges and universities have been in a state of turmoil since the October 7 attacks against Israel. Christianity Today’s recent article by Emily Belz, “As Campus Threats Rise, College Ministries Look for Ways to Help,” takes a closer look at how Christian Union and other ministries are responding. 

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October 27, 2023

The Power of a Seeking God Lifestyle

Highlight: CU America member, Erika Lamara Garrett, LMFT  

By Erin Conner

 
“It was the fall that saved my life,” Erika Lamara Garrett explained. In January of 2020, at the age of 33, Garrett fell. The injuries she sustained from this fall confined her to a bed and made her dependent on others to perform basic daily activities. Despite the desperation of her circumstances while on bed rest, she sensed the Lord telling her, “Erika- you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” 

 

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October 24, 2023

Are the Miraculous Gifts for Today?

The Debate of Cessationism v. Continuationism 

By erin conner

 

Are the miraculous gifts for today? Dr. Michael Brown argues a compelling “yes” in his article entitled “The Reformed of the Lord Say No to Cessationism,” published on October 9 in Christianity Today.  

“The cessationist debate is back, although in some ways, it’s never left,” Brown writes, in light of the recently scheduled 2024 Cessationist Conference led, in part, by Pastor John MacArthur. This conference is timed to coincide with the release of the Cessationist movie, “bringing an age-old topic back to the forefront of trending conversations, especially among Reformed believers.” 

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October 15, 2023

Only Jesus Satisfies

The 2023 CU Rise Campaign

By erin conner

 

From deeply rigorous Bible courses, intellectually engaging lecture speakers, vibrant worship and prayer events, experienced and Spirit-led faculty, powerful one-on-one discipleship, to leadership training and development, Christian Union's university ministry has much to offer Christian students at the schools where they serve. These ministry programs are deepening the faith of the students involved, but also equipping them to lead others toward life in Christ.

The 2023 CU Rise Campaign is just one example of this. 

 

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October 11, 2023

The Nobility of Examining the Scriptures Daily

By chuck hetzler
 

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.  – Acts 17:10-11

The Bible says that the Bereans were “more noble” than the Thessalonians because they were eager to hear what Paul and Silas had to say. They did not quickly take offense to the concept of a suffering Savior, crucified as a criminal, and raised from death to life as the victorious Son of God. They did not consider it inconceivable that God could fulfill thousands of years of prophecies in this God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth. Some people today can be quickly triggered when hearing unfamiliar messages, but such a reaction is ignoble and immature. We should be able to hear different views and then patiently weigh and test them through the Scriptures, just as the Bereans did. 

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October 1, 2023

A Journey Beyond Graduation

Christian Union America's Mentoring Program Launches Alumni Well

By christine foster

 

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

For many Christians, the most challenging phase of life begins the moment they graduate from college. Robust discipleship, through which many students grew strong in college, suddenly disappears. The members of their Bible Course group scatter across the country and around the world. Young graduates suddenly find themselves in a new city, with a demanding job, and no home church. Christian Union’s Alumni Mentoring Program aims to smooth this time, by equipping these graduates with some support. The intention is to see these new alumni continue to network with other faithful people and grow into the full Christian leaders God intends for them to be.

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September 27, 2023

Cherish the Word of God

A Devotional 

By qwynn gross

 

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  - John 15:7, NKJV

The Word of God is the bedrock, basis, and fabric of Christianity; spoken in the beginning and framing the world in which creation lives, the Word is the manna from heaven that became flesh and dwelled amongst man, written on tablets of stone and transferred to man’s heart so that all would be warned and find great reward, the Word was given to one, Adam, and defied by two, Adam and Eve; a covenant to be kept by a nation astray in heart but upheld by the Savior who would be faithful and true. Established as the one thing that will never pass away, neither return to God void, the Word of God is the Truth that endures forever, and that must abide in every believer, as imitators of Christ, that prayers may be answered, faith can be seen, and fruit is produced. 

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September 24, 2023

A Win for Religious Liberty

FCA v San Jose Unified School District

By erin conner

 

In an article on the FIRE (The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression) website, Robert Shibley reports that in 2019, at a high school in California, Fellowship of Christian Athletes' (FCA) recognition as a student group was revoked for requiring that student leaders comply with their statements of belief. These statements align with the basic tenets of Christian theology.

On September 13, 2023, belief-based student groups won an important victory in the lawsuit that followed, Fellowship of Christian Athletes v. San Jose Unified School District, which restored the ability of many such groups to meet on public campuses and schools in the many western states covered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

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September 18, 2023

Let Us Reason Together

Christian Union Bible Courses Challenge Students

By erin conner

 

Intellectual engagement, one of the six core values of Christian Union, embraces God’s command for us to love God with all our mind. (Mark 12:30) As a result of the desire to intellectually engage university students to build faithful leaders, Christian Union offers rigorous Bible Courses.

Students involved in Christian Union ministries in the fall semester of 2023 have an opportunity to join a 10-lesson study on the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians, which is often referred to as a “prison letter,” as Paul wrote it while “in chains.” (Colossians 4:3, 10, 18.)  

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September 16, 2023

Love in Action

Ministry Snapshot: Christian Union Vita at Cornell University

By erin conner

 

“Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.”  - 1 John 3:10

 

In February of 2023, Marcus Buckley and his wife, Lea Ann, packed up their life in Florida as church leaders to move to Ithaca, New York to answer God’s call to serve Cornell students.

This call did not come without sacrifice. 

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September 13, 2023

When God Woke Up Wales

Three Lessons in Revival

By erin conner

 

In this article published by Desiring God, Pastor Jeremy Walker writes a brief summary and analysis of the revival that took place in Wales, England in the  1700's. 

 

Walker notably writes that “the Lord was pleased to stir the listless and lethargic to liveliness and labor during the 18th Century in various parts of the world by various human instruments. In England, God raised up George Whitefield. In America… Jonathan Edwards, and in Wales… Daniel Rowland.” 

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