"God never seemed real or personal to me," Rohde says. "It
was always just distant stories. I never knew that it could be a relationship."
In high school, he got involved with drugs and alcohol to attain popularity.
"I had just moved from California to Colorado, and everyone thought
that I was cool," he says. "So to keep that image, I did what
all the popular kids were doing."
The night of the Chi Alpha meeting, 10 people had gathered for a time
of praise and worship. "It was something I had never seen,"
he says. "The worship leader and pastor acted like they really
believed the words of the song. I had never seen people who were so
During the next year and a half, Rohde began attending church and Chi
Alpha infrequently. "I still wasnt ready to give up the occasional
partying or my hope of a career making lots of money."
In January 1993, Rohde attended a SALT conference, an annual regional
event featuring workshops, activities and evening sessions. There, he
had a life-changing experience and received the baptism in the Holy
"It was exactly what I knew I needed to truly believe in and experience
God," he says. "It was a major turning point. It completely
freed me from my double standard, and I finally gave some major problems
When he came back from the retreat, Rohde set up a table in a high-traffic
area on campus. Each week he would write a different question on a board
in order to open up opportunities to talk about God and share his testimony.
"I didnt want to debate with people; I just wanted to tell
people that God is real," he says.
As Rohde got involved in the Chi Alpha leadership team and continued
growing spiritually, he realized that his pursuit of financial success
was shifting. "I knew I was going to do full-time ministry when
I graduated," he says. "What I experienced in Chi Alpha prepared
me for the rest of my life."
He interned for a year at the University of Wyoming and came back to
CSU as Chi Alpha pastor in 1995.
Kirk and his wife of four years, Cara, whom he met at the 1993 SALT
conference, focus their ministry on making disciples, not just converts,
and emphasize the importance of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. "The
baptism in the Holy Spirit is key to helping people become disciples,"
Rohde says. "Well give up large numbers if we are truly making
a difference in peoples lives."
During Rohdes eight years in Chi Alpha ministry, at least 25
students have been called to full- or part-time ministry positions,
and many more have taken part in short-term missions trips.
The chapter ministers through large group meetings, small group Bible
studies, the question table, and spring break outreaches on other campuses.
In recent years, Rohde has been asked to speak in various fraternities
and sororities about sex, presenting the only Christian perspective
many students hear.
But spiritual gifts have remained a focus. "What drew me to Chi
Alpha initially and made me want to know more was people speaking in
tongues and praising God unashamedly," he says. "That aspect
of God changed my life, and we shouldnt shy away from it."
Brent Mero, 21, accepted Christ after attending an Assemblies of God
church at the invitation of a Chi Alpha member. Although the CSU senior
had always believed in God, he did not have a personal relationship
with Jesus. Faced with questions regarding his experience at the church,
he began talking to Rohde and other Chi Alpha members, and eventually
committed his life to Christ.
"The spiritual gifts showed me that God is out there and He sent
His Son," Mero says. "He wants to change our lives, so that
we can be different from the rest of the world. He gives us the power
to change and to minister."
This year, the Rohdes will focus on doubling the groups size.
One way theyll do this is through an outreach featuring once-a-month
activities geared toward helping new freshmen make friends. An average
of 20 attended the fun activities last year, and many who heard about
Chi Alpha became part of the group, bridging the gap between older and
The Rohdes will also face the continued challenges of working with
people who are resistant to the gospel and dealing with apathy. But
they are committed to the ministry because of their experience in Chi
Alpha and their burden for discipling students.
"College is such an impressionable time, sometimes in crazy things.
But its a key time that we can be there," Cara says. "The
older people get, the less likely theyll be to come to know Christ."