Conversation: Eric Treuil
Parade of Souls
Eric and Anabelle Treuil have served for 22 years as Chi
Alpha campus missionaries at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Eric
talked recently with Scott Harrup, senior associate editor, about their
continuing commitment to reach the university’s 17,000 students with the
evangel: What are some of the regular outreach opportunities
TREUIL: In the summer during orientation sessions we want to
connect with new students as they arrive on campus to get ready for the next
year. We also have summer worship sessions for students taking summer classes.
Every fall between 3,000 and 4,000 freshmen arrive, and
they’re our priority. We have our Burger Bash at the beginning of the semester
with games and giveaways. As many as a dozen students have accepted Christ at
the Burger Bash.
Throughout the year we have our weekly worship meetings. Everything
from our announcements to our message to closing thoughts is aimed at speaking
to students who have never been in a Christian setting before. We never want to
lose sight of the student coming in for the first time.
During the week student leaders trained through our ministry
lead all-male or all-female life groups in the dorms. Every Wednesday at our
Free Meal With a Message session, Women’s Ministries from our area churches
provide a meal for about 125-150 students. Throughout the year we see at least
one student make a decision for Christ each week.
evangel: What challenges do you encounter in your ministry?
TREUIL: I had a pastor recently remark, “I’ve finally
figured out what you do. You pastor a parade.” Because every semester we lose
about a third of our group to graduation, transfer or life change. That means
we have to be reaching out on a regular basis to maintain our group. Everything
we do as a ministry is outreach focused.
evangel: Does one of those salvation decisions stand out for
TREUIL: Kelsey Tomes came to the university without a church
background. She came because she heard UL Lafayette was a party school. One of
our students who helped her move into her dorm invited her to a life group. She
went for a couple of weeks, and then our students invited her to a Thursday
night worship meeting. But she had a night class on Thursday and always used
that as an excuse.
She was walking to that class one night and spontaneously
prayed, “God, if You want me to go to that meeting, You’re going to have to
cancel my class.” She got to class and found out it had just been canceled. She
went to the meeting and gave her life to Christ. Within a year she was trained
and part of our leadership team. She graduated and completed an internship with
Chi Alpha and will be coming on our staff this fall.
evangel: How do you reach out to athletes on campus?
TREUIL: I do a Wednesday night Bible study with more than 50
athletes from all our teams. I also serve as a chaplain for our football team.
I travel with them to all our games and do a devotional every Saturday with
evangel: Why is Chi Alpha’s ministry vital?
TREUIL: The college campus is one of the most critical
places we need to be today in ministry. The spiritual condition of the
university today will shape the spiritual condition of our wider culture
tomorrow. Your next wave of doctors, educators, lawyers and military and
political leaders are all being educated here today.
A growing number of students come to campus with literally
no church background whatsoever. Some people see great despair in that
statistic. I actually believe that’s an easier group to reach. Once they
understand the truth of the gospel and who Jesus Christ is, we see them come to
Him. The key is, we need to be present and connect with these students.
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