Last weekend, Glen and I had the opportunity to return to my alma mater, Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Christian Campus House. I’m not one to get overly nostalgic or sentimental, but driving through Ball State’s campus always gets me. College was four years of H-U-G-E change for me, mostly for the better. The best changes came as a result of my experiences with the Campus House.
When I came to Ball State, I did not know God, and frankly wasn’t too interested in him. I had some great new friends, was getting good grades, and had an okay-ish job that helped foot the tuition bill. Life was good… until it wasn’t. I know it seems so cliché to say, but if you could look past the surface of my life during those first couple of years you would see one very lost girl. Everyone has their own personal demons, and I came head to head with mine during the end of my sophomore year of college. It was U-G-L-Y. Depression. Anxiety. You get the idea. I knew something had to change.
Returning to campus as a junior in the fall, I had a quasi-attack plan. I was going to try going to church. Even typing this now, it feels like I’m making it up, but that really was my plan. I wanted to find a church. Having not grown up in the church, I really had no insight into different denominations, so my number one factor was proximity to my dorm. And would you have it that the Christian Campus House was a simple 10-minute walk from my dorm? Blessedly convenient.
Long story made really, REALLY short: I started going to Campus House, and through my time there came to know Jesus and was baptized. In an effort to dissect the top three most influential factors during my time at Campus House, I’ve come up with the following:
- People. They were genuine. They accepted me. We laughed. We cried. We loved. There were a few absolutely amazing and selfless people (Mark Pike who is the current campus minister should be counted as one of these individuals) who spent hours explaining and talking through the faith and my questions.
- Service. There were immediate ways to dive into serving. Even in my short time there, I had the opportunity to go on two mission projects, co-lead Bible studies, organize events, and the list goes on.
- Truth. This is really the most important but one that I came to value more as time went on. The temptation to water down the Gospel message in a campus setting could be high, but never once did I feel like the ministry staff did that. They were there to represent and share Christ with students and to provide a place for believers to learn, share, and serve. Because of their boldness in preaching the Gospel, the door was opened for me to learn about God.
Generally, I love campus ministry.
Specifically, I LOVE the Christian Campus House.
Also, the next time you see a campus minister, you should give them a hug. They’re pretty awesome people.
~ Jessica ~