Finding a new faith community is one of the most intimidating aspects of campus life. Explore this list for a brief introduction to the many ministries welcoming college students each year.
1. Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru)
Found on more than 1,740 American campuses, Cru is a powerhouse among college religious organizations. Its ministry includes outreach to athletes, African-American students, ROTC members, Asian-American students, college faculty and professors.
Cru's Statement of Faith explains that "the sole basis of (members') beliefs is the Bible, God's infallible written word." By joining Cru, students can access resources to help them grow in their Christian faith, as well as learn about mission, conference and internship opportunities.
Muslim student groups take many different forms, but many of them rely on support from the same national organization. MSA National oversees campus ministries in the United States and Canada, hosting conferences, Islamic awareness days and humanitarian efforts.
Hillel, or The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life at Colleges and Universities, is the largest organization dedicated to serving young Jews in America. Its statement of impact explains that of the 400,000 Jewish students on campus each year, Hillel engages nearly 200,000.
Hillel's mission is to "connect with students at more than 550 colleges and universities across North American and around the world. (It) creates lasting connections with students, inspiring and training them to become leaders and build their own communities."
FCA has been working since 1954 to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with sports teams. Its mission is to "present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church."
The group also serves those who attend athletic camps in the off-season and members of the communities that surround colleges or universities.
The campus ministry arm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America seeks to engage college students in spiritual reflection and service. Its website explains that "ELCA campus ministry is a Lutheran ministry for students, faculty, staff and others on campus, not just a ministry for Lutherans." Participants are welcome to worship, study and serve together.
InterVarsity is an evangelical Christian organization that works to transform college and university communities through fellowship between students and faculty members. Its website reports that, during the 2013-2014 school year, "InterVarsity had 949 chapters on 616 campuses."
7. Young Life
This organization is built for college students who want to give back to their communities. Young Life creates opportunities for young men and women to spend time with kids, sharing God's love and growing in their own faith. Its mission includes "providing experiences that are fun, adventures and life-changing."
In the 2012-2013 school year, Young Life's 115 campus ministries served over 5,500 kids each week.
8. Chaplain's Office or Student CenterComment on this story
This list is not exhaustive. Every campus has its own unique list of religious groups, and many even allow students to create new ministries. To learn more about a specific school's offerings, check out its student services website or schedule an appointment with the campus chaplain.
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