Christian ministries alive on campus
Ask many former college students and they'll tell you that those first years of your adult life in college are not only the place that you gain a formal education, but those are the years that you find yourself and the foundation of what you believe in terms of God, yourself and the world around you.
It's so much more than making the grades.
With this in mind, there are several student ministries on campus, helping students experience the mysteries of spirituality and self.
One Christian organization, RUF (Reformed University Fellowship), aids students in those mysteries by not only studying the Bible but also by attempting to truly live out the Christian ideology.
"RUF is first and foremost a Christian ministry for UT Martin that seeks to make Jesus Christ known, and to see people's lives transformed by the good news that Jesus saves broken people like us. We're certainly not here to be the ‘morality police' on campus, but we are here to live out Jesus' command to love our neighbor in a very real way on the UT Martin campus," said RUF Campus Minister Dawson Bean.
RUF is a program sponsored by the Presbyterian Church in America, implemented in universities throughout the country, giving college students of all faith backgrounds the opportunity to learn more about God. Even though Bean has only been with RUF for almost a year now, he has already found that he enjoys it.
"I love that RUF has a strong emphasis on pointing students to Jesus and His church, because when they graduate and enter the workforce there won't likely be a Christian organization that's tailor-made for their life stage. Jesus' church is made up of all people of all ages, cultures, races and socio-economic statuses, and we believe that God calls us to love this church that His Son died to save.
We want to teach students to love Jesus and His church now, even when it's less than perfect," Bean said.
Bean and his wife, Shanna, just moved to Martin this year from Texas and have felt a strong conviction to be involved in campus ministry since they were in college.
"My wife Shanna and I were both deeply affected by our involvement with a campus ministry when we were students at Texas Tech University. … Even though we were encouraged and humbled by how we saw God use us, we began to really see the need in our lives for more training in God's Word at seminary and saw how much students really needed a trained and ordained pastor in their lives to help them grow.
We went into seminary knowing that we loved working with students and felt that God might be calling us to continue to work in college ministry when we graduated in 2010," Bean said.
RUF gives students pieces of wisdom and insight in the hectic beginning stage of their adult life. By offering Biblical knowledge in the most straightforward and clear way possible,
RUF hopes to give students the foundation they need.
"I'm convinced that more than anything else, students need Jesus and students need the Bible, and RUF gives students the opportunity to be introduced to both.
By offering students a solid grounding in the Bible and a relationship with Christ, we can know that, in cooperation with the education they're getting from the university, we're launching them into the real world with a very good foundation to live life on in their chosen career, family and spiritual life," Bean said.
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