Many students arrive at college with no friends and no spiritual fellowship. This problem is compounded by the fact that people often experience crises of faith at college, especially because they are away from their spiritual homes and leaders. However, many Mississippi College students find a home in Reformed University Fellowship.
RUF is the college ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America that offers weekly worship and teaching on campus. Some of their student leaders spoke about the MC chapter, and said that anyone is welcome to come and wrestle with difficult spiritual problems.
“It’s OK to have questions,” said Alyssa Scharf, a senior Spanish major and member of their student leadership. Scharf said that she had misconceptions and questions about her Christian beliefs when she arrived at MC. RUF provided her with a “safe place” to ask these questions and get solid Biblical answers from kind, knowledgeable people.
“RUF seeks to be a place where convinced and unconvinced (believer and nonbeliever) can ask questions and grow in truth together,” she said.
This welcoming attitude has attracted people from many different walks of life, regardless of their denomination. Scharf said that international students often come to RUF brimming with questions about Christianity, many of them having grown up without it. RUF leadership “has a heart for international students” and strives to include them, whether or not they are familiar with the Bible.
Her ideas about RUF having an open, friendly environment were echoed by Cade Barlow, a sophomore history major who also serves on student leadership. Barlow said that RUF is accepting towards all comers and preaches messages that everyone can understand. It’s not about “high-minded theology, but how to love God and love people,” Barlow said.
Barlow also said that “RUF gave me a lot of hope” during the difficult transition to college life. The group received him with open arms, and he rapidly made friends. He said that it was a good place to meet new people and be nourished by solid Biblical teaching.
Jeff Jordan, RUF’s full-time campus minister emphasized that RUF is for everyone, and said that it is a “safe place” where “believers are challenged and grow, and unbelievers can ask questions.”
Jordan also discussed RUF’s mission and goals on campus. “RUF’s purpose is to reach students for Christ,” he said. They want to “instill love for God’s word and his church,” in young people, and do so by “preaching the Gospel each week and pointing students to Christ.”
Jordan said that the group hopes to equip students with a “Biblical world and life view,” that is, for the Gospel to permeate every aspect of their lives. Jordan wants students to live the word of God, whether it is by showing love to the people around them or having integrity in their work. RUF thus helps people to apply the Gospel message to their everyday lives, and not just leave it at church or small group.
Jordan hopes that equipping students to see God’s truth everywhere will impact their lives for years to come.
MC’s chapter meets on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. in Alumni 208. They have a short sermon by Jordan, sing hymns, and enjoy food and fellowship. Small groups and off-campus ministries are also available. MC’s chapter has been active since 1999, and Jordan has led it since 2012.