Twenty-one years ago,
a fellow college student led Sue Hegle to the Lord and discipled
her through a Chi Alpha small-group Bible study. Hegle set aside
her plans for law school and now serves as the Chi Alpha director
at San Diego State University helping other students encounter and
grow in a relationship with Christ.
Chi Alpha, the Assemblies
of God missions ministry to campuses, seeks to reconcile students
to Christ and transform the university, the marketplace and the
world. For Chi Alpha, Americas higher education schools, training
ground for national and international leaders, are a very strategic
mission field. More than 300 Chi Alpha ministries serve 200-plus
Like other ministries,
the Chi Alpha that Hegle directs holds large- and small- group meetings
weekly and disciples student leaders. The group hosts a weekly open-air
preaching ministry and cafés for international students.
Participants actively work in residence halls and sorority and fraternity
houses, starting small-group Bible studies and hosting talks on
topics such as depression and eating disorders.
For Hegle, the most rewarding
aspect of the ministry is seeing God change lives. "Students
come in and they are dealing with issues related to their families
and pain from their past," she says. "You can see in a
few years how God really transforms their lives. Getting to relive
that new birth experience keeps my faith fresh."
It is challenging to
know that her time with students is limited. "The leaving
thing is built into it automatically, and that gets really
hard," she says.
Hegle spends much of
her time discipling student leaders. "Part of me is driven
crazy when I go through a whole week without having a good conversation
with someone whos not a Christian," she says. "The
other part of me says, This is so exciting because as Im
passing on my vision to the students, theyre catching it,
and they are meeting with other people. Its an effective
way for us to reach the campus."
Jennifer Hughes had been
a Christian for two years when she became involved in Chi Alpha
during her first week as a freshman. During Chi Alpha activities,
she began to feel Gods leading into full-time ministry. A
student of linguistics and Spanish, Hughes felt her calling might
be to overseas work, but she discovered that God was calling her
to ministry among college students. After a yearlong internship,
she began working full time with Chi Alpha and now serves as the
director of the Chi Alpha ministry at University of California in
For Hughes, the rewards
and challenges of Chi Alpha ministry are closely linked. "Sometimes
you cant see the effects of what youre doing
its not product-oriented," she says. "At the end
of the day I cant look back and say, I mowed the lawn
or built the house, because my work is not visual. But I can
say, I got to pray with someone, and it was powerful and rewarding.
We love students, pour our lives into them, and trust them to God
that His purpose will be accomplished in their lives."
as a single woman minister lets her serve as a unique role model
to students. "When students look at me, they see a woman living
her life for Christ without a husband or partner in ministry,"
she says. "As they see the Lord satisfying me, and going well
beyond what I could ask or imagine of Him, they see Him as faithful
Charmaine Townsend, Chi
Alpha director at the University of Central Florida in Orlando,
was involved in the young-adult ministry at her church when she
felt God calling her into campus ministry. She has a vision for
helping students confront their needs and problems. "The most
rewarding aspect of my work is seeing students come to know the
Lord and seeing their growth at the end of the school year,"
Jayme Harris had carefully
researched campus ministries before deciding to be a part of Chi
Alpha. She changed her teaching career plans when she felt God calling
her to campus ministry, and now serves as the director of the Chi
Alpha ministry at Portland (Ore.) State University.
Chi Alpha works with international students, collaborating with
other campus ministries to provide services ranging from airport
pickups and English as second language classes to weekly international
coffeehouse outreaches. Harris assists with international student
ministries and directs the ministry to American students, which
includes small-group Bible studies, prayer meetings and campus outreaches.
"One of the most
rewarding aspects of my work is being able to sit with a non-Christian
international student, who comes from a completely different worldview,
and respond to their curiosity about the Lord," Harris says.
"Its rewarding both to be able to present the gospel
in such a way that a student responds and becomes a follower of
Jesus, and also to sit with a Christian student and share the truth
when there are challenges. As I watch God form himself in their
lives, in some way God happens to use me."