Moms and dads across the nation recently said “Good-bye! We love you!” to a beloved child, after packing up their student’s belongings and unpacking them into a 12 by 12 dorm room on a college campus somewhere—maybe halfway across the continent, or maybe only a few hours away. Nonetheless, on the return home, those Christian parents may be worrying about their student’s spiritual life on a secular campus.
Thankfully, many of our U.S. college and university campuses have Chi Alpha. Although each student is accountable for his or her own spiritual life, Chi Alpha exists to help “reconcile students to Christ, equipping them through Spirit-filled communities of prayer, worship, fellowship, discipleship and mission,” so that universities and marketplaces around the world can be transformed.
Chi Alpha is sponsored by the Assemblies of God, providing each local campus with support, resources, and connection to a larger worldwide movement. The name “Chi Alpha” comes from the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:20 in which the apostle Paul wrote, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” Chi Alpha explains on its Web site, “Each of us who takes on the identity of ‘Christian’ becomes Christ’s ambassador—or christou apostoloi in Greek, which we shorten to the first letters “Chi” and “Alpha” or XA.”
If you are the parent, we urge you to follow these steps to help your college student:
1. Find out if Chi Alpha sponsors a group on a campus your student is attending. You can visit their Group Locator map to locate one of over 330 locations throughout the U.S. Consider scheduling a visit with a campus pastor as you take your student to college visits before they decide which school to attend.
2. Send the information to your student about Chi Alpha on their campus. If you did not visit with a campus pastor previously, see if your student is open to finding their local Chi Alpha group, then give them the leader’s name to contact as well.
One dad humorously, yet in all sincerity, said to his student that as long as he was paying for the student’s education, he expected his student to be at Chi Alpha meetings on Tuesday nights. The social and spiritual benefits of Chi Alpha meetings will be worth finding Chi Alpha on campus.
3. Pray. Your student needs your prayers often. And the Chi Alpha groups need your prayers. Some schools are resistant to keeping Chi Alpha as a Christian group on their campuses. Pray for favor in schools that are resistant. Pray for more students to join Chi Alpha groups and be connected to the Gospel. Pray for the leaders and campus pastors of your student’s Chi Alpha group.
4. Give. Chi Alpha is a large ministry, and each campus pastor raises his or her own support, just as a world missionary would. You can give online, at chialpha.com. You can also fill out a monthly faith promise card or give by check (Chi Alpha General Offering 702-051 in the memo section), and mail to: Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A., 1445 N. Boonville, Springfield, MO 65802.
Chi Alpha will appreciate your support as a parent—and your student will benefit from their ministry.