WHY I KEEP COMING BACK TO RUF - OR - HOW RUF KEEPS COMING BACK TO ME
CARRIE EVERITT | March 10, 2020
I walked into my first RUF large group as a college freshman in the fall of 1997 at Mercer University in Macon, GA. I had no intention of ever becoming Presbyterian or venturing away from the church where I grew up and was converted. Honestly, I had no clue I even needed anything different until I heard the RUF Campus Minster open up Romans and start to preach. I left that night with a confused combination of conviction, clarity and calm. Week after week I made the walk alone from my dorm room to the Union to sing songs I didn’t understand and interact with people I didn’t know. For what? To hear this man open the Bible I knew so well and speak of things I had not heard.
I came to college a believer, but my faith was weary, and my heart was sad. The questions and tragedies of my high school years had thrown my faith into a quiet crisis, but I was too afraid to admit the fears that plagued my heart. Instead, I soldiered on and continued to dip from the shallow well of self-sanctification I had relied on for so long. Until that fall semester in Macon when I heard the two-fold truth of the Gospel: You are far more evil than you ever realized and far more loved than you ever dared dreamed. I was wretched, yet he lavishly and sacrificially loved me. Those 2 truths set off a fire within me to know who this amazing, beautiful, Triune God was. My time as a student in RUF Mercer was spent chasing that fire. I read more of the Bible and Reformed Theology than I did my major. Words, ideas, character traits and concepts were fleshed out in community and conversations with my peers and mentors around me. It was such a sweet time of immeasurable growth that continued to point me back to the Jesus that both saved me and was growing me daily.
After graduation, I moved to Oxford, MS to be an intern with RUF Ole Miss. My time as an RUF intern taught me who I was in light of who God was. All of the lessons learned and information read as an undergraduate were put to foot as I moved to a new city, battled loneliness and interacted with students and their questions and concerns. But this time, instead of a quiet crisis of faith, my faith was grown and strengthened because it did not hinge on me. To be carried on solely by the power of the gospel is such a sweet and, like the prophet Samuel and one of my favorite hymns says, an Ebenezer laying moment in life. To watch God work when you know that it cannot be you causes you to construct a wholly different framework for assurance and Christian living, like a new well to draw living water from. I have carried that ever new well with me for over 15 years now, and as the years have passed and I have grown into a wife, mother and now Campus Staff worker- this God has not changed, even though by his grace I have.
What keeps me coming back to RUF? Simply put: the truth of the Gospel applied to life at a pivotal time for the glory of God and the growth of his church. In the Gospel, we have the truth and that is what we lead with, rely on and are empowered by. We carry the Gospel into a collective and diverse community that is on the forefront of culture. While this is scary at times, the potential is limitless because the God of the gospel we proclaim has no limit. RUF is changing the church because of the gospel, and the gospel changes people. RUF students are knee deep in Gospel truths, teaching and community and are then funneled directly into the church. They are students that admit they are broken and bruised but redeemed by a Savior and cared for by His people. They have drunk from a well of water that produces a need, adrive, to turn around and share that water with friends, family and complete strangers. They have the biblical knowledge to apply the truth of the Gospel to all of life and godliness in their workplaces, homes and churches.
From 18 to 40, I have been privileged to be a part of RUF in a variety of capacities: as a student, intern, supporter, campus minister’s wife and now Campus Staff. The list of blessings RUF has brought into my life is long: life long friendships, mentors to call when I have questions, Elliott Everitt, a love for the Word, a biblical world and life view, a love for the Lord’s church, an affinity for all things Laguna Beach and an entire wardrobe of T-shirt’s. What an honor it has been to see first hand how God is at work through the power of his Gospel to individuals through the work of RUF.