The Walk of a Lifetime
Helping Students Stay on the Path of Righteousness
For young adults, the college years are full of excitement. It’s a time for emotional growth, independence and new experiences. But it also presents a maze of challenges and temptations that is hard to navigate. One great irony in this unique time of life is that many non-religious students find themselves searching for spiritual fulfillment while many Christian students find themselves falling away from their faith.
At Louisiana State University, LSU Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) appeals to both mindsets. With a goal of connecting people to Christ, the organization empowers students to embrace their faith and share it with others. Joining LSU Cru ensures that every student will become part of a strong and welcoming faith community and will always know others who follow Christ.
Staff member Ali Enos says Campus Crusade changed her life when she was a student at LSU. She is grateful, she says, that in her 18 years working with students, she has been given so many opportunities to influence the decisions that will impact their lives forever. “My vision is to be used by God to win students to Christ, build them up to be disciples, and send them out to win and train others,” she said.
A unique approach
Cru focuses on three groups:
- A catch-all group that is open to anyone who seeks to explore their faith, study the Bible or ask questions in a safe environment.
- A Greek-wide group that brings together sorority and fraternity members to discuss how faith and Greek life intersect.
- Impact, a group for African-American students and their unique needs and experiences.
Students in all three groups study the Bible together. (Cru hosts 12 Bible studies each week.) They also enjoy “swaps” or “socials with a purpose” such as game nights and parties held at university dorms. It’s here that current members have the chance to meet new students who might be interested in Cru.
Struggles old and new
Enos says students struggle with the usual temptations such as alcohol and premarital sex, but in recent years, she has noticed more anxiety and depression related to social media.
“In my generation, if a bunch of friends got together and didn’t invite you, you might never know about it. But today, everything in on social media, so if you’re left out, you know about it. It’s hurtful. And young people can’t seem to get a break from it. They’re always scrolling, looking to see how many ‘likes’ or views they got. It really affects their self-confidence.”
Brianne Gilbert is a recent graduate of LSU, and leads Impact, along with Joseph Holmes. “We want African American students to embrace who they are,” she said, “while they practice their faith.”
She works especially hard to help upper classmen who are gearing up to go out into the real world.” They are trying to make good decisions, and it’s a good time to get back to the basics of their faith,” she said. “So we help them with that. We talk about the things that worry them. We study the book A Purpose-Driven Life. We study the Scriptures for guidance on living a good life.”
Gilbert was also involved with Cru during her college years, and is happy for the chance to give back in her own college community. She says she enjoys seeing students grow in their faith. But fun is just as important.
“The men recently organized a cookout so they could fellowship with each other,” she said. “The women had a sleepover, which was a great way to strengthen our relationships with each other. We also do old-school game nights just for fun.”
Service is important, too. Impact members are partnering with a local middle school to help tutor students in math and reading next year. And they will also host a weekly Bible study for high school athletes.
Faith and identity
“Connecting young people with Christ is so important,” said Enos. “Now more than ever, they need to understand that their identity comes from their relationship with Christ, not from other people. And there are so many things they can do to keep their faith strong — spend time with God on a daily basis, read the Bible, pray and really listen to what God is saying, and seek out friends who encourage you in your faith and hold you accountable for your actions.”
“It is going to be a struggle sometimes. But if you know the truth and keep the faith, you will be steady and secure as a Christian. We all need to surround ourselves with those who help lead us in the right direction. It makes the journey so much easier.”
For more information, visit the website at LSUcru.com.
In our next issue, we will feature a student ministry group at Southern University. If you are involved with a college ministry, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Move
LSU CRU offers many travel and opportunities for students:
- Winter conference: a week-long event that offers fellowship and learning during the winter break.
- Summer mission: a 6- to 8-week mission trip with stateside and international destinations.
- Summer trip to Italy: a special partnership that takes place in Bologna, Italy for 5 to 6 weeks.
Ali Enos has worked with LSU Cru for 18 years.
Bri Gilbert works with African American students through the impact program of LSU Cru.