What comes to mind when you think of college fraternities? Maybe your initial thought is of excessive drinking and freshman hazing? Did you know that college fraternities are the most strategic place for a gospel movement in our nation? College fraternity graduates become the next generation of influential leaders, including CEOs and political leaders.
Think of the implications of this for what God can do by transforming lives of college students in a fraternity! College students get the opportunity to experience first-hand the saving grace of Jesus, which re-directs their lives as they live out their influence in their career paths.
Imagine what could happen if these college students (or anyone for that matter) were filled with the Holy Spirit? What if they were taught by Jesus in college to “in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12) and to “honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10)? What if these future disciplemakers were to grow in Christ and help others to know Him too?
Tanner, who I have the honor of discipling, is part of the Chi Phi fraternity at Penn State, a fraternity with 81 members. Last year, as a junior aerospace engineering major, Tanner held the position of secretary on Chi Phi’s executive board. During our first discipleship meeting of the semester, Tanner told me, “I think the guys really respect me because of my positive lifestyle choices. I think God is asking me to use my influence within the fraternity for Him.”
So, I challenged Tanner to invite some of his fraternity brothers to join the weekly Inter-Fraternity Bible discussion. At Tanner’s invite, several fraternity brothers started regularly attending the Bible discussion. Another Chi Phi executive board member and accounting/philosophy double major is on the fence about the Christian faith but used our Bible discussion to explore his questions about Christianity compared to other world religions.
One Chi Phi brother who started attending said, “I should probably explore what I actually believe about God.”
When I met with this young man over lunch he said, “You said that you have those verses and promises from God to cling to when you’re struggling or feeling anxious … I don’t have those verses and I want to read the Bible. Do you know where I can get one?”
I was so excited to give him a Bible, and he has begun reading the Gospel of Luke, exploring the life and claims of Jesus for the first time.
The Lord has given Tanner the vision of using his life to influence others around him. The Spirit is doing things in the Chi Phi fraternity I could not have imagined a few months ago! Recently Tanner texted me: “Cam, I’ve been talking to one of my closest Chi Phi friends for over an hour about God. He is an adamant non-Christian and believes science disproves religion.”
They healthily debated faith and science in the main living room of the fraternity house for over six hours over the next two days, sometimes with multiple Chi Phi brothers weighing in on the conversation.
With the fall semester starting, Tanner hopes that the Bible discussion group continues and grows, “I hope that God will just keep people (in particular the brothers at Chi Phi) open minded and interested in hearing about God’s Word. I pray God will inspire anyone curious about the Bible to come and not be afraid of any social stigmas that might come along with wanting to learn more about the Bible.”
Since Tanner is a senior, he is also hoping to get some underclassmen involved to carry the group forward into the next generation of students.
Pray for the college students who are preparing to go to school in the Fall. Pray that this year many will decide to follow Jesus and invest their lives for the kingdom of God.
I was a Penn State AZ brother in ’57-’58 and under the influence of a small evangelical church in State College and a number of Navigators under the leadership of Gene Tabor started a Bible study in AZ blessed by God in our ignorance launched what became an ongoing presence there and an eventual 45 year career with the Navs. I am retiring at the end of this month with a full heart and grateful spirit for the place of Penn State and AZ in my life.
Thats wonderful, praise God. I plan to help Navigators with a gift as soon as able. Praying for new fall students, amen.
Amen. God’s Word will not return void!
I have a nephew at Lawrence University, and pray that he will find a support group like this. Prayer college students is so important.
I was in a fraternity in a small college in Illinois between 1969-73. I came to Christ in 1970 where there were only 3 known Christians among the 1100 students. No Christian agencies were on campus. Nonetheless the handful of Christ followers prayed and moved ahead with carefully sharing Christ, encouraging others, and just moving ahead. By the time I graduated, we had 40+ in Bible studies … and many of them participating in solid churches. Three of my college fellow students entered solid seminaries. I left my successful Chemistry major, entered a Minnesota seminary, and then on to youth ministry in California. Afterword I was off to serve in Europe for 25 years serving in French-speaking church planting for 15 years in Belgium and then 10 years in Germany at Black Forest Academy helping students whose parents were serving throughout Europe and Asia. Note: The Belgian church as about 40 when we left. Today, I have been informed that the church has over 125 participants and growing – without any missionaries present!! PTL!!
God has done some remarkable things through the Christ movement in the 70’s – especially through colleges and universities. I strongly applaud those who reach out an reflect Christ in their schools. Keep up the great work!
I praise the Lord for your faithful ministry.
GOD is always moving by HIS SPIRIT…..the WORD shall abide forever…… HE always have servant winning souls for the Kingdom
I was a freshman at the University of Texas when a fraternity brother met Christ and began witnessing to everybody in the fraternity. He started a Campus Crusade Bible study in our fraternity house. A few months later I surrendered my life to Christ, and immediately knew my life was different. God gave me a heart to witness to other students. I sensed a clear call to overseas missions, and attended the Inter-Varsity Missions Congress at Urbana in 1964 where I met the Navigators. My wife Diane and I are on staff with Nav World Missions and have served in Mexico and Argentina.
Thanks for this article…so encouraging to hear news from others who are “living and discipling among the lost”.
As a fraternity member at Kansas State University, I attended a sorority party and heard about Jesus. A Navigator staff person, Dave Gras poured his life into mine helping me grow spiritually..Members of our house have served as ambassadors for Christ on every continent except Antarctica. The Navigator Greek ministry is key to reaching a campus and the world with the Good News Jesus came to bring.
I was invited to attend a meeting at Alpha Zeta Fraternity during my Freshman year at Penn State. At the same time I met a Christian ministry ministry and became involved and started to grow spiritually. Through that I met the Navs and after a few more years of personal ministry as I knew it and growth in the Army I joined the Navs and, watched God work for over 50 years in the US and a number of foreign settings. What a privilege it was to experience His hand in the lives of many nations.
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