Chapter 9

Survive and Thrive

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If you choose to attend a secular college or university, know that your survival will require action.

If you choose to attend a secular college or university, know that your survival will require action. Demands it. You cannot expect to quietly sit through four years of liberal propaganda that often openly attacks your Christian faith without being influenced. Survival is important. But it might also be that God wants you to do more than learn to cope with the situation. If you decide to go to a secular school, determine right now to do more than just survive on the sidelines. Determine to thrive—to join the action, engage in debate and be part of the discussion.

If you’d asked me if I considered myself a conservative when I started college, I would have said yes. If you asked me if I was a staunch conservative or a radical conservative, I would have said no. But then something happened. As the days and weeks passed and I heard the leaders and heroes I had long looked up to bashed, trashed, and disrespected, and as I heard my faith mocked and ridiculed, I realized something. It wasn’t enough to hold my own, or play defense in this environment. To survive here, I’d have to play offense. I couldn’t worry about what people thought about me; the call was to be energized and sometimes even outspoken. Polite and friendly, but outspoken. It was the only way to survive and thrive in the muck of liberal ideology and moral relativism.

Dinesh D’souza explains this shift in thinking far better than I could. “Typically, the conservative attempts to conserve, to hold onto the values of the existing society. But what if the existing society is liberal? What if the exiting society is inherently hostile to conservative beliefs? It is foolish for a conservative to attempt to conserve that culture. Rather, he must seek to undermine it, to thwart it, to destroy it at the root level. This means that the conservative must stop being conservative. More precisely, he must be philosophically conservative but temperamentally radical.”

For a Christian this call to be radical must be tempered with respect and love. But don’t think that respect and love translate into some sort of passivity. The society that exists on campus is liberal, very liberal, especially in the soft science departments where personal opinion and subjectivity so easily make their way into the classroom. To survive in this type of society, you have to speak up and articulate your beliefs. Boldly. When professors push lies, offer the truth. When campus activities are offensive, voice your complaints. When the campus newspaper prints some whacked out article trumping the joys of binge drinking or group sex, write a letter to the editor.

You’re squirming here, aren’t you? Sounding a little hard edged for a Christian? Don’t forget Paul fully exercised his rights as a Roman citizen when it was to his advantage. Jesus was a powerhouse when He encountered the enemies of God. He used language describing excrement and filth. He used the language of tombs, snakes and thieves and robbers who wore the masks of self-righteousness. David Mills, in Recovering the Art of Christian Polemics, points out that Polycarp, one of the saints of the early church, didn’t mince words when referring to Marcion, the heretic. He called him “the firstborn of Satan.” Irenaeus thought Marcion was one who “spoke with the mouth of the devil.”1

Now, it would hardly be effective or beneficial to march into the classroom with a professor who enjoys bashing Christianity and start calling him the firstborn of Satan or drawing analogies to excrement. I am saying that we need to rekindle the fire. There’s complacency about many of us today. We need to fuel the passion for truth. Words mean things and ideas are worth discussing.

Yes, we should live peaceably with all men. But living peaceably is not the equivalent of living in silent surrender and waving the white flag of surrender. And yes, we should speak the truth in love. But speaking the truth in love doesn’t always mean whispering. I’ve witnessed my parents speaking the truth in love to the three of us kids at different times, and believe me, sometimes their voices have been very loud. Sometimes their noses were only a few inches away from ours.

Sometimes, speaking the truth in love, and loving aggressively, demands a high energy. We don’t have much of that passion today. We’ve grown tepid. Our salt is losing its saltiness, and our light is flickering on a weak set of AA batteries. It’s time to rekindle the flame. Opportunities abound.

On the first day of philosophy class my professor, who had a reputation as a hard-core liberal feminist known for lively class discussions, told us that if she ever says anything offensive we were more than welcome to come talk to her about it. Take advantage of opportunities like those! The professor then went on to cuss like a sailor, salting her sentences by taking God’s name in vain. I ignore the bulk of cussing that goes on around me, but that is extremely offensive to me as a Christian.

I took her up on her offer and met with her after class. I politely explained how I was looking forward to her class and that I had heard good things about her teaching style. I then told her I was a Christian and that I find it offensive when people take the Lord’s name in vain. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. She then expressed how glad she was that I brought this to her attention. That conversation created a connection and connections with profs are sometimes hard to come by.

My philosophy professor was sensitive to this throughout the rest of the semester. Sometimes she would slip up and then glance at me like a kid caught with a hand in the cookie jar. When professors are generous and sensitive enough to offer an open invitation like that, seize the moment and take them up on it. The professor was genuine and sincere in issuing the invitation. By taking her up on it, she was reminded that there are still those who take their belief systems seriously.

That professor was also something else – she was a contrast to other professors who mocked opposing views in the classroom. While this professor made it clear what her views were, for the most part, she attempted to treat other views with a measure of respect. It’s what’s known as civility. While our personal views were often polarized, she became one of my favorite professors. I have great respect and admiration for her.

You Can Write!

Helping ignite discussion is exciting. Excitement can still exist among the feelings of isolation and loneliness. There are a lot of different ways to tell the other side of a story.

Weekly, you have an opportunity to write letters to the editor. Campus newspapers vary, but our campus newspaper is filled with articles in dubious taste on a regular basis. It is not often that one will read a conservative article among its pages.

One week the paper did a feature story on most embarrassing moments. These weren’t the typical “I walked into the wrong restroom” or “I was wearing 3-inch heels and fell face down getting my diploma” type stories. My friends and I sat in my dorm room reading the paper together. When we came upon this feature we erupted in simultaneous gagging and shocked screams. The campus paper had clearly demonstrated it had no class, at least in that issue. Next to each embarrassing story was a graphic of a trophy. These anonymous contributors were being commended for their immorality. The funny thing is, if they were proud enough of their most embarrassing moments to write them up for the campus paper, why didn’t they want their names printed next to their dirty deeds?

I’d never written a letter to the editor before. I thought it over and then decided to go for it. Here’s what I sent:

“Shame on the paper for stooping so low as to print the repulsive anecdotes submitted in the weekend mishap hall-of-famers. I was obviously under an erroneous impression of the paper. I expected a college newspaper to print the news, sports, and occasional page-filling drivel, but where is the justification for devoting two pages to such nauseating rubbish? Just because these disreputable acts go on does not make them newsworthy. As for their entertainment value, where is the humor in reading about the depraved low lives engaging in oral sex, threesomes, and kissing as if it were a sport? By highlighting and celebrating animal-like behavior the student newspaper denigrates the reputation and academic climate of the university. I would like to offer my congratulations to the student newspaper for enhancing my postulation that many students esteem glorifying an empty lifestyle of reckless immorality over intellectualism and integrity.”

I may have come on a little strong—OK, a lot strong. I fired with both barrels and I was curious (make that worried) to see what kind of response the letter would get. The reaction from other students was a shock. They were really supportive. I hadn’t anticipated that. People stopped me in the hall and walking to class. A few grabbed me in class to tell me they completely agreed. My roommate overheard students reading my letter aloud together in the dorm lobby and they were impressed with it. My resident assistant stopped by, saying I did a great job and that I was right on the money. Even a friend’s parents who subscribe to the college newspaper were encouraged and passed along favorable comments.

Of course, there’s no sense in letting your ego get inflated—there will always be someone else to take it back down to size for you. Near the end of the year a student wrote an article criticizing Campus Crusade for Christ on a national level. The next week he wrote another article criticizing our own school’s Campus Crusade for Christ. He took things out of context and twisted the facts to end up with a gross misrepresentation of what Campus Crusade is all about. I hated to see such slander go unchecked, so I decided to write a letter to the editor. I made the point that while the writer’s piece addressed Campus Crusade, what he was really attacking was orthodox Christianity. I considered my letter direct and to the point. I obviously got my point across to a senior who wrote a letter to the editor the next week responding to my letter. He said he was “ashamed to even consider Ms. Nye a fellow [student], especially in light of [the university’s President’s] efforts to promote and increase diversity on campus. . . .I wish you’d transfer somewhere more ideal and get the hell out of here, rather than representing our school in such a disgraceful fashion. . . . I’m sad to say that I don’t see much hope for our campus either, especially with people like Ms. Nye in our freshman class.”

I wasn’t the only one who had written in defense of Campus Crusade. A number of students had. While you have a standing opportunity to be heard in the student newspaper, opportunities in the classroom aren’t as frequent.

I had an unusual opportunity one day in philosophy class near the end of the semester. The professor was discussing evil, all the pain in the world, and how it’s hard to believe that a good God exists. The discussion was sincere and heartfelt. She wasn’t baiting anybody or antagonizing anybody, she was asking a real question and engaging the class in thought. The problem of pain is a very real dilemma. It seemed as though the door had swung open wide. I was nervous, but I knew it was a perfect segue to present the fact that Jesus himself was not immune from suffering and sorrow. I said that Jesus suffered the greatest pain dying on the cross. It was a pain that He did not deserve but chose to endure for our redemption, in order that we may believe in him and be saved. I spoke for only a minute or two, but when I finished I realized I had presented the gospel message in a nutshell. Now, I was really nervous.

The response wasn’t quite what I expected. I was surprised when the following week two people approached me and responded positively. One said, “Wow, I can’t believe you said that.” The other said, “Hey, I really agreed with what you had to say.” Moments like that fuel the tank and keep you going. It may not always look like it, but people are listening and people are asking hard questions and looking for answers.

Never, never, never assume you’re alone, even if you don’t see or hear someone else speaking up. And remember, when one person speaks up, others will follow.

Feminism, Anyone?

Of course, not all of my attempts to make a difference have been successful. Disastrous would be more like it.

I was at a Campus Crusade leader’s retreat where we were listened to a speaker saying that we should accept God’s call to reach the entire campus. One way we could do that was to find out what non-Christians care about and attempt to care about those things, too. The speaker used the example of joining the feminist group on campus. He said he personally promotes himself as a First Wave Feminist, meaning he believes women should have the right to vote. He said it gets their attention when he says he’s a feminist and once they find out what he really thinks about feminism, he already has a foot in the door to begin a conversation.

After listening to this, I initially thought it was a goofy idea. I also thought it was so misleading. Personally, I didn’t want to be known as a feminist. But as I considered what the speaker has said about attempting to reach out to others, I felt somewhat convicted. At a Block Party, I put my name on the feminist listserve.

I haven’t had a chance to attend a meeting, but I still get the minutes from each meeting by e-mail. After several months of reading their minutes, I’m hesitant to go to a meeting.

The most recent minutes included The Hangar Project. Campus feminists want to place hangars around campus with statistics about how many women die from botched abortions. No mention of how many babies die from abortions, just “womyn.”

I also can’t see myself blending in with a crowd rooting for getting birth control, condoms, and the morning after pill distributed on campus. Ditto for supporting V-Day, groups doing the Vagina Monologues.

Being part of a group like this could conceivably be a vehicle for outreach, but I no longer feel compelled to join, just as I no longer feel compelled to seize each and every opportunity to make a difference. You have to be selective, you have to choose your moments carefully, and above all, you have to be sincere.

Pluggin In

Another way to fortify yourself is by keeping in touch with old friends from high school by e-mail, phone calls, letters, and by praying for one another. However, the absolutely, positively most important thing on the “survive and thrive” list at college is to plug into a church and/or a para-church organization. The great thing is that every campus has at least one, and many of the larger campuses have more than one para-church organization on campus. There’s Campus Crusade, Navigators, InterVarsity and some lesser-known ones that are excellent as well.

At the first Campus Crusade meeting of the year, a friend and I shared the edge of a window ledge in the very back of the large classroom as students squeezed in. All the seats were taken, including the steps. The room was packed. We began to sing worship songs.

You are the Lord of Lords
You are the King of Kings
You are the Mighty God
You are Lord of Earth,
You are Emanuel
You are the Living God.

It was amazing to hear everyone sing with such passion. I had been told that I would be inspired by the Christians at secular colleges. I was already impressed by the enthusiasm. It was also encouraging because these students were coming to Campus Crusade because they wanted to, not because it was a mandatory chapel meeting such as those at most Christian colleges. As worship ended, someone stood up and gave a message. The message was about how to begin a relationship with God. It was good getting started stuff for someone in the room who might be asking questions for the first time.

Finding a church and a para-church group to be part of is an absolute must. It doesn’t work to be a Lone Ranger Christian. You’ll be swept away, and you will not grow spiritually unless you have the accountability and encouragement that comes from Christian relationships.

Ask any Christian student to explain the instant bond you have with fellow Christians and they may not be able to put words to it, but they understand. When Christians are the minority on a secular campus, that bond becomes even more special. I have friends with similar interests, friends in my major, friends in my extracurricular activities, but the friends that I share the bond of Christ with stick out. Maybe it’s because those relationships are more rare on a secular campus, so they become more precious, or maybe it’s because of the power of the acknowledgment of Christ’s love.

Because I go to a smaller university, there were not as many Christian organizations to choose from. Fortunately CCC had a strong and active presence on campus, with participation of close to ten percent of the student body. CCC, similar to most Christian organizations, does a lot of advertising the week before classes start in order to get people interested and involved. Campus Crusade also does a lot of outreach geared toward freshman specifically. On the campus I attend they have a student-led “freshman outreach team” that plans fun activities and socials specifically for freshman so that they can make new friends and, at the same time, grow spiritually. Our CCC staff leaders live right next to campus and they open up their house at all hours to students. The back door to their basement is unlocked so students can go there and hang out, have Bible studies, or worship. It’s a very cool house and a favorite hang out among many of the students involved in Crusade.

In addition to plugging into a Christian organization on campus, it’s important to be involved in a smaller Bible study. Commonly, groups such as CCC or InterVarsity offer small group Bible studies led by staff or upperclassmen. Bible studies provide opportunities to get to know people on a deeper level, keep each other accountable, and really dig into the Word. Christian organizations on campus have a tough job. They try to meet the needs of established Christians, yet at the same time keep an eye out for new Christians and those who may still be sitting on the fence. As a result, sometimes the small group Bible studies may not go very far beneath the surface. You can’t really generalize because there are so many variables, including the group leader and the make-up and maturity of the group members. Keeping things simple in small groups, in an attempt to make people at all stages of growth feel welcome and to encourage students to bring their non-Christian friends, has its ups and downs. You may get tired of hearing the salvation message preached every week, but for some students it may be the first time they’ve ever heard that message. Exercise your options when it comes to plugging into a small group study.

I asked one of the moms I had babysat for if she would lead a Bible study for a group of my friends. We liked the opportunity to get off campus and go to a real home, eat good food, and learn from a seasoned Christian woman. The Bible study was also flexible to accommodate our busy schedules, and we were able to choose what we wanted to study.

A close friend of mine at a huge university took the initiative to start her own Bible study with her close friends. It was actually called a GIG—Groups Investigating God. It was a six-week Bible study to introduce people interested in Christianity to the basic beliefs of Christianity.

Connecting with Christians on campus will pose a unique experience for students depending on their interests, worship style, and spiritual needs. There is no magic formula or one way to do things. I gathered emails from a few of my friends at secular schools to learn more about how they connected with other Christians. While they all had different experiences, there is one common thread—they all stress the importance of connecting with Christians right away.


First things first

Find a para-church group on campus, a church, a small Bible study, one of the above, or all three. Make it one of the first things you do. You’re setting your foundation.


When you pack to go to college, in addition to taking a tap light, shower caddy, and twin x-long sheets, take an ample supply of chalk for chalking. On most campuses, chalking is like legal graffiti, a new way to practice freedom of speech. You can write your opinions or thought-provoking questions on the sidewalk one day and the rain washes them away the next.

Outta here

Sometimes you vacillate between reaching out and protecting yourself. Many times, in the interest of surviving and thriving, it is necessary to get completely away from campus. College is not the “real world,” and it is important to be reminded of that. Break away now and then. Go for a bike ride, go roller-blading, go for a walk, but get off campus and remind yourself that there is life outside of the bubble.

Scripture memory

Scripture memory has been a great help in thriving on campus. Having gone to a Christian high school, we were required to memorize multiple verses every week. I really didn’t think much of it at the time. The majority of the time I hurriedly memorized the verses in the class prior to Bible class. But they stuck with me. I experienced God using that in ways I never had before. Whenever I was facing a struggle, whether it was loneliness, doubt, hurt, or anger, relevant verses would pop into my head. Inside, I would be saying, I can’t stand this place—I’m so alone. Then a verse would spring to mind, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). I’d be thinking, I can’t stand this place—I’m so hurt and worn down. Then I’d remember the Scripture, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).

You’ve Got Mail

From: “Katie and Natalie”

To: “Abby”

Subject: Friends

Natalie and I are sitting in the library and decided to answer your questions about making Christian connections on campus together. In philosophy, our professor challenged us to be willing to let go of (suspend) our beliefs, preconceptions, and enter philosophy in the pursuit of truth. He stated we were only allowed to think on the “human side of things.” He stated: “Why should anyone care what a young, uneducated, inexperienced, naïve person would think?” If we tried to use the Bible in our papers, he would say that it was irrelevant and didn't count toward our argument.

Having this type of experience is both challenging to one’s faith, but also can be beneficial if the Christian becomes stronger because of it. Natalie and I are able to “get through” this class because we knew each other as Christians and were comforted by the thought that it is not ridiculous to think that God does exist. We need to think for ourselves and hold onto truth and not cast it aside for a class, simply because we have already searched and have found the truth, namely that God does exist and that Jesus Christ is our Savior. We found encouragement from the verse Colossians 2:8, and from other Christian groups and friends that we met via Campus Crusade for Christ and church. Fellowship from Christian friends can greatly impact your own relationship with God. One last piece of advice is to think for yourself, and see how professors teachings compare to the Bible and the truth found there.

You’ve Got Mail

From: “Chris”

To: “Abby”

Subject: Co-op

For me, the most important way of plugging into a Christian community was through where I lived. This could apply not only to a cooperative house such as the one I live in, but also to any other living situation. If you are going to live in an apartment or a dorm, I would suggest finding another Christian or two to do so with, even if he isn't your best friend. The people that you live with are the ones that you will be seeing on a consistent basis, who will know how you are doing with this area or that, and will be able to keep you accountable, more so than someone who you see less often.

Fairway, which is a house of 50-some Christian guys, provides the Christian fellowship and camaraderie that is always around me. Because of this, I always have somebody to turn to with problems as little as homework to bigger things such as deaths.

If Ryan doesn’t email you, I know he has done something similar. He lived with Dave for the first year, and after that moved in with a group of Christian guys he met through Navigators.


You’ve Got Mail

From: “Mark”

To: “Abby”

Subject: Connecting

When I arrived on campus in the fall, I knew absolutely no one; none of my family members had ever attended here, and no one from my school had even applied here before. Since then, I have made friends that will last a lifetime and are built upon a mutual love of Christ. This campus has a reputation as being a party school, which I soon discovered was well-earned after just one week. I wanted to distance myself from the alcohol aspect of college and searched out Christian organizations before classes even began. Fortunately for me, different groups such as Campus Crusade for Christ, Navigators, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship all advertised heavily during the week before the start of class. Despite their efforts to attract students, the voices of the Christian groups were out-shouted by messages for liberal student groups, such as GLBT. I noticed during my first week that liberal organizations received public support and outright endorsement from the university.

Of all the Christian groups I visited I felt God’s presence the most in Campus Crusade’s ministry. I had heard of the organization before. Upon walking in the door of the building for the first meeting of the year, I was approached quickly by an enthusiastic man by the name of Joel. It turned out that Joel was in charge of all the Campus Crusade Bible studies in the area of campus that I lived, and so, he immediately invited me to a weekly study. After several weeks, attending the study became habit, and the seven or eight young men that made up the small group have become good friends of mine. For me, joining a small group at the beginning of the year was a crucial step in my ever-growing relationship with Christ. God was able to use our small group to give each of us somewhere to find accountability and strength. Finding a group of Christians would have been much harder and nearly impossible without the organizing capability of a functioning ministry, such as Campus Crusade.

Over the course of my freshman year, I did meet other Christians in different settings, such as class and a few that lived on my floor, but I have not grown as close to them as I have to the ones in my study. Another important aspect of my Bible study that enabled me to grow greatly in the Lord was the fact that it was all male. I found it much easier to learn and grow in God’s Word while around other men who also had a hunger and desire to know God to a fuller extent. Another aspect of Campus Crusade that helped college students in their walk with faith is its weekly meetings entitled “College Life,” where roughly four hundred Christians come together in the biggest lecture hall on campus. The sheer size of the gathering shows Christians who feel alone on the huge liberal campus that there are other brothers and sisters out there who want to help spread God’s Word.

God also made sure that I would find strong Christians in random places. One such example is my RA. I discovered that he was also a brother in Christ after one week, and we instantly felt the connection that brings believers together. Upon entering college, I did not expect that my RA would become one of my close friends, much less the fact that we would discuss God’s love and how to live in the Spirit. In addition to having an RA that was a great brother in Christ, I often saw people from my classes showing up at Crusade events. Once again, as soon as I talked with any of them, the strong bond of Christ between believers was formed.

The most helpful Christian connections I made during my freshman year occurred over spring break. I traveled down to Panama City Beach with about twenty other Christians from Campus Crusade for a convention labeled the Big Break. The purpose of the convention was to reach out to the lost students on the beach and evangelization training that could be taken back and applied on campus. The most important aspect that I took away from the trip was the formation of twenty new great friends. I knew none of my fellow spring breakers when I left on a Friday afternoon for the beach, but by the week’s end we were practically family. It was through a trip that God made our friendships possible, and one put on by a well-organized ministry.

I am a firm believer in the concept that God uses organized campus ministries to reach a large number of lost students on university campuses across the nation. Students that became involved, such as those in my Bible study, grow much more over the course of their time in college than those who find no group of believers to fellowship with. It is hard to grow in the Spirit without the support of other Christians. God’s love shows itself daily through the lives of the Christian connections I see around campus.


You’ve Got Mail

From: “Vanessa T”

To: “Abby”

Dear Abby,

I think going from a Christian high school to a secular college or university is a big transition no matter how strong a believer you are. This is the situation I faced upon graduating from high school. I didn’t become involved in Christian groups on campus, but I did make a conscious effort to stay connected with other strong Christian friends. Email is great for keeping each other updated, encouraged, accountable, and laughing. Having a strong core of people gives me the stability to grow and reach out to others (Christians or non-Christians).

Most students graduating from a Christian high school have a mentor type person they can talk with—hang on to that relationship. Advice and opinions are never difficult to find on a college campus, but GOOD advice can be scarce. Having a growing, godly mentor who speaks the truth is invaluable.

College work requires a lot of dedication. It is easy to get caught up in work and social activities and let your relationship with the Lord fade. Tools I have found useful are prioritizing and budgeting time. Make a list (literally) of important things; then make a list of the time each requires. While doing this, I realized I did not have enough time for all my interests. Simplify. If your aspirations do not allow you time to spend cultivating a relationship with the Lord, adjust your aspirations. Having a hard copy of your priorities will make adjustments easier and clear . . . well, maybe not always easier.

Abby, that is what is off the top of my head right now. Ahh, gotta go to class. Right now.

You’ve Got Mail

From: “VanCan”

To: “Abby”

Subject: Connecting

Hi, Abby,

Could you have asked a harder question? : ) Before deciding where I wanted to attend college, I made sure to find out if there were any active Christian groups on campus. When I first decided to go to Pitt, some friends from home, who work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IV), gave me contact information for an IV chapter at Pitt.

After arriving at Pitt I quickly got in touch with IV. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a group going at Pitt at that present moment in time, so I attended their chapter meetings at a university right down the road. I really enjoyed it, but had been hoping to get involved with a Christian group on my campus. After a few weeks at Pitt, I quickly learned about several different Christian groups. It was a little overwhelming trying to figure out how to pick a group to get involved with and find a church to attend.

One group I visited held weekly meetings where a little over 100 students gathered for a time of worship and teaching. This group, Cornerstone, was headed by the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO). I found out about this group because they met at a church directly across the street from my dorm. Initially I struggled with the group’s large size and what I thought were less challenging teachings then I was used to. However, once I began to get involved in a small group Bible study with girls from Cornerstone, I got more plugged in and was more challenged in my own personal growth. I learned that the purpose of a Christian community is not all about me and what I can get out of it. That is definitely an added bonus, and I think what should eventually result from being involved in a Christian community. However, the focus should be on other Christians and our mutual support, encouragement, and desire to share Christ with others who don't know about what he has done for them. It has taken me a while to see that I have been very selfish about trying to find a Christian group on campus. Now that I realize I should be trying to serve others, I have been even more blessed.

From my experience I would say you have to be fairly proactive in your search for a Christian group and other Christians. You can’t sit around and expect a Christian to approach you and invite you to their church or group. That’s great if it does happen, but from my experiences that doesn’t happen too often. Don’t get me wrong; I think personal invitation is the most effective way to get someone to attend an event or meeting, but it can be unproductive just waiting around for someone to do so for you. You have to put yourself in places where you can meet other Christians. The biggest hindrance for me in finding a Christian community at Pitt was getting over the fact that there is no perfect group. Each ministry may have a slightly different focus, different style of worship, different format for meetings, and be composed of all kinds of different people. I had to let go of my perfect preconceived ideas and just jump into a group that I knew was seeking to teach the truth about God and glorify Him in all they did. Once you find a group or groups that are teaching and living out biblical truths, it really doesn’t matter where you get plugged in. As I’ve done so, I’ve met more Christians and begun to feel more “spiritually stable” at school.

Also, occasionally attending other Christian group meetings and functions has helped me to recognize more Christians on campus and to feel more united with them.

Other groups on campus are Campus Crusade for Christ, Cross-seekers, Chi-Alpha, Ambassadors for Christ, and Christian Student Fellowship.

I hope this helps.



You’ve Got Mail

From: “Ben”

To: “Abby”

Subject: Hanging out

As far as connecting with other Christians go, well I think it depends on how much you want to connect with them . . . are you fired up about Christ and long to talk to others about Him whether it be with other believers or not or are you an apathetic Christian who is either scared to show your real identity or find more pleasure in not bringing up the topic of God because you don’t want to give your all to Christ in the way you live? Many Christians say they believe yet still love things of the world and hence find shame in revealing their identity in Christ. So are we ashamed to be a Christian?... Mark 8:38 says, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels.” So are we out to please man or God. Where is our fear placed?

I think if you really have a desire to connect with other Christians, you will find them. So, it is more of a matter of desire.


You’ve Got Mail

From: “Rachel”

To: “Abby”

Subject: Greek IV


I never really got involved with Campus Crusade, which is pretty big here, but I did immediately connect with Greek InterVarsity. Greek InterVarsity is a program for, but not necessarily limited to, guys and girls in sororities and fraternities. I got involved with Greek IV before I was even in my sorority (AXiD) because the man who started it not only locally, but nationally, Andy Dalton, is financially sponsored by my dad. Dad told me it would be a good thing for me to check out; so, Kelsey and I went a couple of times and loved it, and sure enough, I’m still going every Thursday night. The great thing about Greek IV is how receptive the people there are. As soon as you walk in the door, you’re hugged, welcomed, etc. Even if you’re not a familiar face, people will walk up to you immediately and introduce themselves and make you feel welcome. The thing that is bad for outsiders is that it is a program for students in the Greek system. Even though, as mentioned before, it’s not limited to us, people outside of the Greek system don’t really attend, so they never get to see how much fun the whole thing is. It’s one of the best programs I’ve ever got involved in. Actually, there might be one thing. My friend, Laura, who is a senior in our house, started going just this year b/c she hadn’t even heard of the program before, which she wished she would have b/c she loves it so much. So, I guess the worst thing about it is you have to dig for programs to get involved in.


Christian thinking is a rare and difficult thing; so many seem unaware that the first great commandment according to our Lord is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God . . . with all thy mind.”

—Oswald Chambers

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  1. “Recovering the Art of Christian Polemics,” New Oxford Review (October 2002).


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