RUF Supper Club is making an impact!I just wanted to give you a brief update 4 weeks into our new year and give the Lord praise for what we are seeing. We have had four straight weeks of consistent numbers in the 40-50 range at our weekly RUF Supper Club (Wednesday nights 6:00 pm). This is the new format for our Large Group meeting with a free dinner, worship and message from 6 to about 7:10 pm. Demographics and understanding the specific factors of the Maryland campus and schedule brought this new change. We are seeing commuter students (a big part of UMD student body) stay on campus a little later and join us for dinner and fellowship. We are seeing overwhelmed Engineering and STEM students come consistently because 'ya gotta eat" and the meeting is not so long that they feel their night is spent and they can't study for that calculus exam. We are seeing new students and freshmen come and enjoy the night and connect with existing students in the dinner table fellowship. Overall it's been a real shot in the arm and I'm basically doing back flips in my mind as I preach through some Gospel stories. My series this semester is "Conversations with Jesus: Ultimate Questions."
Chris Garriott, Campus Minister at University of Maryland
September 28, 2016
Sticky FellowshipLike so many other RUF chapters across the country, RUF at Boston University will be promoting our organization to incoming freshmen and transfer students once school begins the week of Labor Day. BU has 500 + student clubs and organizations, so it is easy to imagine RUF’s voice getting lost in the noise. (This is the first time RUF has done freshmen outreach at BU.)
What I pray for (and would ask you to pray for) is that RUF would be a sticky fellowship. What I mean by that is that when we hand out free bottled water, a Koozie, or an icy popsicle in two weeks that something about that interaction would stick with the student—a friendly greeting, a conversation, a warm invitation to our first event. Pray that RUF will be a place where people find friends that stick, that share the generous love of God with each other, that have fun together.
RUF is about fellowship and building relationships with fellow students, but lots of other student clubs can claim that purpose. But RUF is also about fellowship with God. So, most importantly, we pray for RUF to be a fellowship where people can meet the “friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).
Nathan Dicks, Campus Minister at Boston University
August 29, 2016
Gathering New SheepA new school year is just around the bend. First-year students are moving into their dorms on Friday; classes start on Monday. The first six weeks of college are a critical time in these students' lives. The decisions they make (e.g., will you stay out late and party or will you finish your homework?) and the friends they choose will set the tone/course for the next four years. With that in mind, we want to meet as many students as possible so that they know:
- They are welcome here (at RUF and UVM);
- They are not alone (a lot of people share the same fears, anxieties, doubts, concerns);
- They are loved by God;
- They are loved by us (RUF staff and students);
- They have a purpose (God is redeeming the world, and they have a part to play).
John Meinen, Campus Minister at University of Vermont
August 22, 2016
From Birmingham to the Big AppleWhen Megan and I started seminary many years ago one of the things we longed for in ministry was to serve in a place where Christians and the Gospel are hard to find. Six weeks ago my family and I moved from a city where Christians are plentiful (Birmingham, AL) to a city Christians are an oddity (New York, NY). Why on earth would we move to a tiny apartment in NYC with three children 4 years old and under!? Well, here in New York there are nearly 1 million college students and fewer than 5% of them have any meaningful connection to Jesus and his church. The RUF ministry here, called City Campus, is a city-wide ministry seeking to reach these students with the Good News of the risen Jesus.
In the short time we’ve been here I’ve noticed that students here feel immense pressure to be extraordinary. Most of them came from communities where they were exceptional, but when they arrived in New York they realized there are thousands of other people just as talented and gifted as them in their area of expertise. For many students here, RUF City Campus has become a different kind of community, a community where they are not defined by what they achieve but by what Jesus has achieved on their behalf. This frees them to be honest about their weaknesses without fear and celebrate their successes without self-promotion. I am thrilled to begin leading this ministry and walking with these students as we learn together how to rest in Jesus more fully every day.
Matthew Terrell, Campus Minister at City Campus (NYC)
July 21, 2016
RUF and the Church
RUF at General Assembly
A Home and a FamilyOne of the biggest aspects of our work in RUF is creating community. It begins with a campus minister reaching out and ministering to students, but the end goal is a gospel-centered community of students, under the care of a campus minister, ministering to each other and drawing outsiders in. It is a long process, and we still have a ways to go at UConn, but we got a taste of it this year and it has been wonderful to see.
This is one graduating senior's take on the work God has done at UConn in her time there:
"UConn may have just been a school, but RUF made it a home. These people may have just been strangers but RUF made us a family. RUF has not only impacted my life but changed it entirely. It has taught me how to love and how to be loved, and for that I am eternally grateful. I feel so blessed to call these people my brothers and sisters even though my journey at UConn has come to an end."
Lucas Dourado, Campus Minister at University of Connecticut
June 28, 2016
God Gives the GrowthThe Bible says one plants and another waters, but God gives the growth (1 Cor. 3:6). One of our new upper-class members this year became convinced of Christianity last summer while he was home for the break. He shared about his first time going to church back at home and hearing the pastor:
"I didn’t understand what he meant at the time and I thought it was all a bit weird, but the message made me want to learn more. [...] I learned that Jesus died so that our hearts and our minds may be free from the shackles of sin. I realized his death on the cross was the ultimate act of love at its core, and with this—along with my entire experience with my church—I wanted to fully accept Christ into my life, and I was baptized in July 2015."
Upon his return to campus last Fall, he was worried whether he would find a Christian community. But he found RUF and has carried on in trusting Jesus. We had lots going on this past Spring semester, but it was something else to hear about God's work in this student's life. Praise God who is great shepherd of his sheep!
Eddie Park, Campus Minister at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design June 16, 2016
Growing Disciples who Love the ChurchI love discussing the book of Philippians with college students. This past spring was the second time I've studied this short letter with students. Week by week, passage by passage Philippians spoke powerfully to our students. One theme came up again and again: partnership in the gospel (Phil 1:5). Students kept seeing how the Christian life is meant to be lived on mission in community with other Christians, i.e. the church. One of my sophomores said this at the end of the year, "Throughout this whole semester in Philippians, RUF has helped me to see the centrality of the church in the life of believers. I used to think about church as something I went to for me. Now I’m seeing that I need to belong to the church and be apart of this community that is about ministry and striving for the gospel together." It was like music to my ears to hear this. So much of what we do in RUF is oriented toward pointing our students to the necessity of the church for their ongoing growth in the faith and participation in the mission of God. God is at work on campus and through RUF he is creating more and more disciples who love the church.
Nick Owens, Campus Minister at University of Delaware
June 9, 2016
Supper Club at the University of Maryland
Welcome Week at University of Delaware
Welcome Week at Millersville University
Welcome Week at University of Maryland
Welcome Week at Lehigh University
RUF PITT students celebrate victory after a little beach volleyball
Millersville students hanging out by the pool