I love seeing college students transformed by Christ and it’s certainly a blessing to be involved with some of those stories personally.
But I also love hearing other people’s stories about transformation while on a college or university campus. It fuels my calling to the campus and reminds me that God can do incredible things and literally change the world by changing a young life.
One of the most exciting stories I have heard recently is perhaps also one of the oldest stories of I’ve heard (not including the Bible of course…ha!)
Dr. Charles “Chic” Shaver sat down with me for a lunch interview a couple of weeks ago. He was a pre-law student at Dartmouth College who began searching for a way to get to know God personally after hearing a lecture from his chemistry professor which described how the world could be destroyed in about a year through Nuclear war. After hearing that lecture he decided that life doesn’t make much sense unless there’s a god and an afterlife.
So he began the search. But couldn’t find anyone with answers until a friend invited him to church. This friend was an upper class man that he went to high school with back in Connecticut who was a super successful student and athlete who wrecked his life at Dartmouth with alcohol use. But after this friend had flunked out and left campus for a semester Chic was puzzled to find him in a chapel service. Afterwards, he asked this student what had happened and found out that he had encountered God in a personal way. He invited Chic start attending church with him (a little Nazarene Church nearby that they found thanks to some female students from Eastern Nazarene College. During a Sunday evening altar call, Chic had a real sense of the presence of Christ and confessed his sins and began following Jesus.
He credits 4 things and considers these four steps as still a great recipe for campus ministry.
1. Witnessing a changed life
2. The loving and welcoming atmosphere of a church-community
3. The testimonies of people in the community regarding specific experiences of transformation
4. Hospitality–enjoying home-cooked meals EVERY Sunday that they visited this little church.
That final step certainly resonates with me because the campus ministries I have been involved with over the past 11 years in Cincinnati have focused specifically on this idea of hospitality. Whether it’s delicious food, better-than-average coffee, or some other way of making an outsider feel like family, I believe that providing genuine biblical hospitality is a key component in reaching out to college students.
After coming to know Christ, Dr. Shaver found out about a bible student on Dartmouth’s campus that was sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship! So he attended that bible study and invited friends to attend as well for the rest of his time at Dartmouth. During his senior year, he felt a calling to ministry. Instead of going on to Law school and a career in politics, he went to seminary and became a pastor and then a seminary professor specializing on evangelism for most of his teaching career.
What a story! Thanks to a bold student whose life had been changed by Christ. Thanks to a loving church with people who welcomed students into their homes each week for delicious meals. Thanks to an InterVarsity bible study on campus, Chic Shaver’s life and subsequently the world was changed!
That kind of transformation is still happening in the lives of college students. And as I begin this new role through InterVarsity to build bridges to college campuses and support or launch new ministries, I am eager to experience and share more stories like this one!
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