One of the first chances we have to meet new students each year is at a college’s Club Fair. Many student groups try to draw students in, but few offer the hope of Jesus and a fun/safe community that will walk with them through college and beyond.
In NJ, students (like Ben here from Kean) and staff on about 20 campuses gave out 15,000 items to students. Bibles, water bottles, bags, and books (like “The Case for Christ”) help connect students to the Gospel through the Scriptures or EveryStudent.com which answers questions about God and spiritual things. Think of that, up to 15,000 students each with the opportunity to hear about the hope they can have in Christ, and to experience meaningful conversations and relationship!
At Rutgers alone, over 150 students connected with Cru through the summer orientation and the club fair. Some of them were looking for us, including Ray who was involved in Cru at his High School (yes, we have a high school ministry too, and you can help bring it to your town)! We’re looking forward to the experience that he has to offer to the ministry this year. Some students had never heard of Cru and were curious to learn more about Christ, including Karina who came out with a friend! Please be praying for NJ staff and students who are following up with the many contacts we’ve received on campuses all over the state. Pray especially for our staff team there which only has 4 full-time missionaries representing over 20 campuses! More than ever, we need you as believers from the local church to step in and help us reach the young people in your communities. Contact me to explore what this could look like for you personally!
Cru students at Rutgers hosted a “Pizza & God” event where they gave out free pizza and had an open conversation about spiritual things. Around 40 students came and heard the Gospel!
The previous night, Alex—student president for Cru at RU—was driving back to his dorm after handing out flyers when he saw another student headed the same direction, so he gave him a ride. This student was a recent transfer from China. On the ride to the dorm Alex was able to share with him the message of the Gospel. This student was very open and curious about Christianity.
Here’s a text message that he sent to Alex: “Good to have such a good friend like you! As a Chinese person who was educated in a completely Chinese traditional way for the past 20 years, I am so curious about the native way of thinking.” Alex is hoping to connect again with him sometime soon. Praise God for his step of faith and for the opportunity to further connect students to the loving pursuit of our amazing Father!
One of my favorite outreaches on campus is called “Pizza & God.” We don’t tend to make a strong presentation of the gospel at it, but it opens FAR more opportunities to share the gospel meaningfully. Here’s a recent example my friendTabithashared on one of her campuses in New Jersey…
I was recently able to attend a “Pizza & God” our student leaders put on at NJIT. This conversation with 6 student leaders and 22 students who were interested in discussing life as it relates to spiritual things… or they were just seeking free food!
Two students from the Middle East who recently moved to New Jersey for school were definitely there with attentive and inquisitive hearts. Sareesh shared how he has pondered for the last 7 years what the purpose of life is and if there really is a Creator. Arvand who was raised Hindu explained his skepticism in all religion but says he believes God exists but isn’t sure who He is or how He reveals Himself to people.
At the end of the evening, Arvand pulled me aside to ask me a few questions.
“If God were to walk into the room right now, what would you do?”
I was first thrown off but as he repeated the question and pointed to a spot on the floor by the door, I couldn’t help but feel a grin stretch across my face! “I would be so happy! I would hug Him so tight!” Even now, my face hurts from smiling as I think of this moment!
Arvand was thrown off by my response saying: “Oh, okay. I didn’t expect that.”
“What did you expect?” I asked.
“Well most Christians I know say that they will fall prostrate on the floor in worship.”
“Oh… uhh… yeah… oops. Probably that too but I’d be so happy to see Him, I guess I’d forget His holiness for the moment as I’d be overwhelmed with His love! Maybe that’s wrong. Oops. Ha.”
“No. Don’t apologize. It’s interesting. Do you think I should fall down to worship Him?” he asked.
I know at one point Arvand and everyone will one day bow down and worship but did I expect him to do that voluntarily at this point? “No. Why would you worship someone you clearly don’t know yet? I think if you got to know Him, that would be a separate thing but right now, you have no reason to worship Him.”
He responded in awe: “Really?! No Christian has ever told me this! I agree! I don’t know Him, how could I bow down to someone I don’t know…. Let me ask you, where do you think I can meet God?”
(Insert shocked face & huge gasp here – could it be this simple?!) “You can meet God anywhere Arvand, even right here.”
Arvand quickly asked his next question: “Okay, so then why do you go to church?”
I could see that he was trying to stump me and so I quickly responded: “Not to meet God. Sure, I can get to know Him better there but I do that on my own at home too. I go to church to be encouraged by my Christian family and friends and to encourage them. See, as Christians, we believe we are better together because God made us each uniquely and when we share with each other what we’ve learned about Him, we grow in deeper love with Him.”
“Wow. I don’t think anyone has ever had an answer to this question before. This answer makes me want to explore your Christian faith more! Hmm… Thank you.”
I’m holding back tears just thinking about this interaction. Arvand connected with Nick, a student leader at NJIT, who hopes to follow up with him. Nick assured Arvand that if he ever came to Cru, they would talk about whatever he wanted because Christ meets us where we are and we desire to imitate Him. Arvand walked away encouraged and even more inquisitive.
Please pray for Arvand and Sareesh. Also pray for Tabitha, and consider supporting her vital ministry to students in colleges all over New Jersey. If you would like to hear more about running a Pizza and God or other ways to reach people for Jesus, I would love to hear from you.