In a sense we’re all Timothys. We learn from those who are ahead of us- our spiritual fathers and pioneers in the journey we’re on. We are inheritors, and we have a debt of gratitude to pay off. I am especially indebted to the people from Christians on Campus at the University of Texas for the experiences that have shaped my faith and guided me in my pursuit of Christ and the church.
Christians on Campus is a startlingly vibrant and eclectic group of Jesus lovers who truly believe “what starts here changes the world.” They present diverse and dynamic opportunities for students to grow spiritually through eye-opening Bible study, daily fellowship, engaging outreach, and living in community. This certainly was my first impression of them as a freshman.
Why you Need to Join a Christian Club in College
College for many people can be compared to the Enlightenment.
The Enlightenment was a radical change of the established order of things in the Middle Ages. In the same way, college is a time of profound change for people. It opens up new ways of thinking, new standards, and new pursuits. Often times, these changes challenge the norms instilled by their parents.
New experiences, however, don’t have to be bad. For me, experiencing the joys of following Jesus Christ and discovering the Body of Christ, the community of faith, replaced the need to party or be popular.
Christians on Campus provided just the venue I needed to thrive during my transition from high school to college- a house to house church life.
Meeting Christians on Campus
My universe rapidly expanded when I arrived in Austin.
I had never moved before- not to a new city, not to a new house, not even to a new room. My gregarious soul had been confined to a small room in an underappreciated suburban town called Irving. UT couldn’t have been a better fit for me. A semi-urban campus crammed right next to downtown with a bulging student body of 50,000 people.
I quickly realized though that sheer size wasn’t what I was looking for. My freshman chemistry class had 300 plus kids in it, I turned in my homework online, and the professor spoke with a microphone. How impersonal! I was determined to meet people.
A high school friend of mine introduced me to Christians on Campus.
He was a year older than me and had met with the club his freshman year. He took me to a welcome dinner the club was having the first week of classes. The room was packed with bright-eyed freshmen, like myself, who were looking to get connected.
I grabbed a few slices of pizza (welcome to college, right?), we sang a few classic hymns, and then listened to a short sermon on the importance of having friends who will do whatever it takes to bring you to Jesus. Even dig through a stranger’s roof (Mark 2:1-5)!
A Home Away from Home
It was announced that dessert would be held in a few different homes in the community.
I’m glad I braved the unknown. What happened in the next 2 hours would turn out defining my college experience. I jumped in the car with three guys I had just met and headed down to South Austin for dessert.
To make a long story short, I ended up really connecting with the family that hosted the dessert. Bill (the dad) was an architectural engineer, a drummer, and loved coffee. I was majoring in architectural engineering and had played the drums in high school. They had a son and daughter close to my age. They were funny, design-savvy, and had a huge heart. Step aside UT, here was the match I was looking for. I ended up going to their home with some guys from Christians on Campus pretty much every Monday night for dinner, homework help, and spiritual community.
Discovering this home was like finding the Rosetta Stone. It became the reference point for understanding what my Christian life was supposed to mean.
The manger, the dove, and the cross were fascinating yet unintelligible hieroglyphics to me. How do these translate into meaningful realities for a freshman in college trying to face the struggles of campus life? I didn’t want these to remain undecipherable. These were symbols that I had grown up around but now they were interpreted, extruded, given flesh, and lived out right before my eyes. Every Monday night I made new discoveries.
I found out who Jesus is and what the church is. I found out how to experience what I’ve read in the Bible and what following Jesus looks like.
Now I understand why the early church lived together day by day and house to house. It wasn’t because Christianity was a persecuted and plebeian movement that couldn’t afford large churches.
It’s because Christianity is about people and relationships, not just about mastering concepts.
It’s because that is where these concepts come alive and are lived out.
It’s because the people are the church, and where the real building takes place is where those people live.
As the apostle Paul beautifully put it, “In whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:21).” This is exactly what Bill and Cathy’s home became to me, and ten years down the road, their pattern and my experience with Christians on Campus still guides me today.
But you, continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from which ones you have learned them.
–2 Tim 3:14
What was your experience as a Christian in college?
- The Reason I went to College at UT Austin (simplykatherine.com)