Wrapping Up the Semester with Campus Ministries / Rachel Faulk
Campus ministries are an important part of life at MC, providing opportunities for students to find Christian community and grow in their relationships with Christ. This article will spotlight three of the most well-known ministries on campus—RUF, BSU, and FCA—and how they have served the campus community this semester. All three of these ministries welcome any and all MC students to attend their events and get involved.
The Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) is a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America which meets weekly on MC’s campus. According to MC’s Campus Ministries webpage, they “strive to provide an in-depth ministry to college students based upon the authority of the Word of God in every area of life.”
Stephen Griffin, an MC senior and member of the RUF ministry team, has been involved in RUF since his freshman year. He explained that RUF serves campus through a variety of “avenues of ministry.” One of these is RUF’s weekly large group, which meets in Provine Chapel and includes worship and teaching by minister Jeff Jordan. Other avenues of ministry, according to Griffin, include “guys and girls small groups, one-on-ones, and fun events like our semester swing dance, movie nights, and more.”
RUF’s main focus is to serve the campus community well by being “consistently available to students,” Griffin said. But they also occasionally partner with local churches for events such as “RUF Sunday,” where members of RUF may help lead worship at the church and have the opportunity to talk to the congregation about the ministry.
With Christmas approaching, RUF tentatively plans to hold their yearly Christmas party on Sunday night, Dec. 5. “We’ll get together to hang out, eat Christmas snacks and desserts, and sing lots of carols!” Griffin said. Updated information about RUF events can be found on their Instagram, @rufatmc.
The Baptist Student Union (BSU) is another well-known ministry on MC’s campus. According to the Campus Ministries webpage, BSU’s focus is “to be a student-led, Christ-centered ministry that seeks to provide opportunities for spiritual growth and Christian community.” With a lead team of 28 students overseeing six different branches of ministry, BSU accomplishes this mission through a variety of different forms of outreach.
BSU’s weekly Vision worship service, which meets at 6:30 p.m. on Monday nights at First Baptist Church Clinton’s Activities Building, is one of their most popular ministries, according to BSU director Mandy Phillips. “That’s kind of our weekly touchpoint where people get to be with a large group and get to know the crowd. But we also consider our small group discipleship groups another place where that depth happens.” Throughout the week, students meet for Bible studies in co-ed or gender-specific small groups. BSU also provides one-on-one discipleship and mentoring opportunities.
“The goal is that anyone who wants to be a part of BSU feels a part and can find a place to serve and grow and be encouraged that we’re loving them,” said Phillips. She mentioned that the recently acquired BSU house, located next to Cups, has played a big role in this, as a means of “showing hospitality and letting people study here and hang out.”
BSU’s campus connection team plans a number of events to serve MC’s campus. Some examples of BSU’s outreach on campus this semester included a Trunk or Treat, a giveaway of copies of The Case for Christ, and their annual Friendsgiving dinner. BSU also has an international student ministry called Ethnos, which fosters friendships between international and American students. They often partner with the International Student Association for events such as pumpkin painting and carving in October.
BSU is also active in serving the community. One of their most popular forms of community outreach is their apartment ministries, where students go out to an apartment complex near Clinton on Wednesday afternoons and put on a backyard Bible club for the local kids. Along with that, BSU offers opportunities to serve with We Will Go ministries in Jackson, partners with local churches in their community outreaches, and seeks out other opportunities to serve the local community.
Beyond the local community, BSU is known for their missions program, which sends students around the U.S. and worldwide. Although due to COVID restrictions they are unable to do their traditional Christmas in Asia mission trip this year, they are looking forward to their spring break and summer missions opportunities. They also sent students on a disaster relief trip to St. Rose, Louisiana in early November to help provide relief from Hurricane Ida.
As Christmas approaches, BSU will hold their final Vision service on Dec. 6, which will be a “relaxed Christmas worship service” along with some annual traditions including a gingerbread house contest and an ugly sweater contest, Phillips said. “That’s become kind of a fun last hoorah that doesn’t go super long, and people can come for parts if they want to. It’s got that mixture of keeping the focus on the Christmas story but also just having some fun with other lighthearted traditions.” More information about BSU events can be found on their Instagram, @mc_bsu.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) is another prominent ministry on campus. Although the ministry is primarily targeted toward athletes, all students at MC are welcome to get involved.
Currently in the process of hiring a new full-time staff member, FCA has been almost entirely student-led this semester, and the team has made some changes from previous years. One of the most significant regards FCA’s large group worship services, traditionally held every Monday night at 8:30 p.m. in the Coliseum.
“We came to the conclusion that although our corporate worship is great and it has a place, we felt like we needed more discipleship opportunities and we needed more opportunities to build relationships with people,” said Cooper Gadman, a member of the MC baseball team and head of the FCA executive team. “So one thing that we’re doing differently this year is instead of every Monday night doing worship, we’re doing that every other Monday night. And so on the opposite Mondays we’re doing what we call team huddles, which are just small groups.”
Huddles are divided by sport, but there are also guys and girls huddles for those not involved on a sports team or whose sports team does not have a representative on the FCA lead team. “By the end of May we want to have a huddle for every team on campus,” said Gadman, “so we still have I think five or six that we need to target for the spring, but that’s the goal I set for myself and for the team, and it’s going really well.”
FCA is working on expanding their community outreach and hope to plan a serve day in the spring, but this semester they have hosted a couple of events seeking to involve the campus community. One of these was Fields of Faith, a campus-wide night of worship, prayer, and teaching held on the baseball fields in October. Gadman was pleased with the turnout at the event: “It was really cool just to see new faces out there that we’d never seen,” he said.
The other major event hosted by FCA this semester was a packing party for Operation Christmas Child. They encouraged sports teams, clubs and tribes, and other groups on campus to purchase items to fill Operation Christmas Child boxes. Then on Nov. 8, they held a packing party in the Coliseum, providing coffee and donuts for students in attendance. Students packed boxes, wrote notes for the children who would receive them, and prayed over the boxes. Over 250 boxes were packed through this event.
While Operation Christmas Child was FCA’s main event for Christmas, they will also hold a worship night on Dec. 6 which will most likely be Christmas-themed. More information about FCA can be found on their Instagram @mc.fca.