"Reaching students for Christ and equipping them to serve."
This means a couple of things. It means that first and foremost, we are seeking to build relationships with students that glorify and promote Christ in their lives. We do this through large group, small groups, and one-on-ones and it is an aspect of our ministry that is relational and powerful. When I was a student in RUF, this had enormous impact on my life as a growing believer and as a student in a new and unfamiliar environment being away from the lifelong influences that traditionally provided this instruction and support.
But the beautiful thing about what RUF does it that it does not simply seek to convert or encourage students in the faith and then stop there. They are reaching students for a reason - because RUF believes that part of being in Christ means living life in a new way. It means being aware of the needs of people around you - and it means giving and sacrificing our time and energy to serve on our campuses, in our churches, and in our communities. For some, that might mean that they step up to serve in their fraternities or sororities and seek to love the campus and the student body by serving in those leadership roles. For others, it may mean volunteering with a homeless ministry or tutoring kids after school as a way of serving and loving the community. Still others might be led to make greater commitments to serving in their local churches by helping out with the youth group or serving in the music ministry or teaching Sunday School. For me, it meant moving to Seattle to continue the work of RUF and to serve the students at the UW and the city of Seattle! It looks markedly different for each member of the church body - and that's good! It is so important that each person serves in a different capacity because there are so many different but essential needs to be met. The point that RUF seeks to drive home though is that you should be doing something. It encourages students to find the ways in which they can find opportunity to serve in whatever capacity they find opportunity for. College is such a pivotal age for this and it is important to be exposed to a lot of different opportunities for service and to build habits to participate in these ways.
Last week, our RUF participated with a ministry out of a local church (Greenlake) called "Good Friday." This is a once-a-month ministry that Greenlake has that brings warm meals and the Gospel to a part of town along a road called Aurora. Aurora used to be part of the main highway that went through Seattle from North to South before the interstate was built. After I-5 moved to town, much of Aurora's formerly booming business and hotel industry declined and deteriorated. These hotels and motels in North Seattle are now infamous for being a constant center for crime, drug activity, and prostitution. 16 students showed up on a Friday night in the cold to come and prepare and distribute meals to the residents of the motels along Aurora and offer them a friendly conversation and an invitation to church. This is an awesome example of how the Gospel is at work in the lives of our students and their willingness and desire to serve in the city and to try to meet the spiritual and physical needs that exist around them. I'm excited to see the ways that the Lord uses these desires to bring life and love into the hearts of our students and into the communities in which we live and serve!