Where I was
As a college student I felt that I was in a stall pattern, waiting for college to end so that real life could begin. In a time and place where I was trying to make choices that would impact the rest of my life, there was little input, direction and community. Following Jesus became challenging and frustrating as my spiritual life, academic life, and social life felt fragmented and compartmentalized. Far from the picture of following Jesus found in scripture.
What I saw
When I encountered InterVarsity as a student, I discovered that the different fragments of my life could actually co-exist, and that life became much richer when I allowed my spiritual life to impact my academic life and social life. Entering into student leadership, I was taught about living a theology of place which helped me to see those around me in my classes, at my job, and in my dorms and apartments. As I studied scripture, and began modeling my life after Jesus, I realized that life didn’t begin when I graduated, but in fact started now. Through discipleship, training, summer internships and living out life with community on campus through Intervarsity, I began to love and serve those around me and my idea of following Jesus was radically transformed.
What I wanted to do
Upon graduation, I realized that there were millions of college students who were just like me. They needed a community on their campus to learn how to live out a theology of place, turning their attention to living lives that go about following Jesus in a holistic way – not just about going to church on Sunday, or getting a job that would make them loads of money when they graduated. Seven years ago, I joined InterVarsity staff to invest in generations of students and help them learn how to see and love their roommates, co-workers, classmates and friends now so that they would graduate into being neighbors, co-workers, family and friends that saw and loved those around them.
Where I am now
Currently, I work with a group of college students on the Auraria campus. The campus hosts three colleges and around 50,000 students. Last year, I was able to develop and train 12 student leaders in hearing God’s voice, prayer, spiritual formation and studying scripture. They in turn led four Small Group Bible studies, were trained in relational evangelism where three students in our community decided to begin following Jesus for the first time, and our community on campus grew from 25 at the beginning of the academic year, to 50 by the end. In the May 2014, I developed and directed the Denver Urban Plunge (DUP), a week long experiential discipleship program which created space for college students throughout Colorado to learn about justice and racial reconciliation as we partnered with local non-profits serving poor and marginalized communities in Denver.
The impact of InterVarsity continues as college students learn to engage with the people around them. This year (’14-’15), we have a student leader team of 16 students, and have six small group Bible studies meeting weekly on campus. We have intentionally been reaching out to ethnic minority students on campus who often feel marginalized and unseen. Together we are becoming a reconciled community as we learn about God’s heart for every ethnicity and culture. In May, DUP will expand and will include a one week Plunge, similar to last year, as well as a five week internship program where we will work with refugee communities, and homeless communities in Denver.