This past weekend, I along with 60 other couples attended the RUF Vision Summit in Sea Island, Georgia.
For those of you unfamiliar with RUF (Reformed University Fellowship), it is a campus ministry of our denomination similar in some respects to Fellowship of Christian Athletes or Campus Crusade. One distinctive of RUF is that each campus ministry is led by a fully ordained PCA pastor (more often than not, a young, newly minted pastor right out of seminary). Another is that each campus ministry is an extension of a local PCA church, so RUF is not a para-church ministry (as I was informed), but rather a ministry of the church itself.
While many RUF staffers (from campus pastors to area directors) shared about the various aspects of the ministry, I was most impacted by the stories of two couples whose kids were shaped by RUF. One couple had four boys, two of whom were already in college. They shared openly about the fears they had sending their boys off to school, hoping and praying that they would stay faithful and not “drink beer, do drugs or sleep with girls.” The other couple, who had two daughters in college, also shared about their feelings of not having fully prepared their girls for college life. Having one college graduate and one currently in college, I could relate.
Each couple was transparent with their shortcomings and fears and their dependence on God’s providence and grace. While I had never met either couple, I felt a deep connection with them after they shared from the heart. I think that is one way that God builds his church - through bringing other followers of Christ into the messiness of life and allowing God to work through each other.
One of the couples shared how the RUF campus pastor encouraged their daughter to set aside her need to present an image of perfection and “all togetherness” that she was so accustomed to doing and open up about her inner struggles, thereby allowing the gospel to truly take root. In this I was struck again by the beauty of the gospel (that we are more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus than we ever dared hope), and I was encouraged by how RUF pastors across the country are meeting college kids in the messiness of college life so they can experience that gospel.
Please join me in praying for our RUF campus pastors and the rest of the RUF staff that support them.
By the way, quite coincidentally, the RUF campus pastor from Northwestern University will be preaching in Hinsdale this Sunday.