If you had met me as a college senior at Millersville University and asked me what I was most looking forward to that year, I probably would have said RUF Summer Conference. For our group, it was one of the best weeks of the year. So you can imagine how excited I was to take my students from Boston University down to Florida for a week of Christian community, Biblical teaching, and fun in the sun.
In our northeast city context, college ministry is far from the “cool” place to be. In fact, only around 3% of the 36,000 students at Boston University are involved in a Christian ministry on campus. For the past few years, our little group has enjoyed close friendship and the experience of being known and loved in a community which welcomes both believers and unbelievers alike. However, for our Christian students, it can feel like they are the only Christians on the campus. SuCo is a whole other world – over a thousand college students from all over the country gather for a week to experience Christ-centered teaching, multi-cultural worship, and fellowship with Christians from many different contexts. For at least one student with us, this was the greatest number of Christians in one room that he had ever experienced – what an encouragement!
The most impactful part of the week was probably the uninterrupted time our students got to spend together away from the pressurized environment on their campus. It was during late night games, early morning devotions, windows-down car rides, walking to and from seminars, and lounging on the beach that they had space to consider together who God is and what he was doing in their hearts. I loved hearing snippets of what they were learning, the inside jokes that were forming, and how God was bringing them closer together. Community is integral to spiritual growth – and at Summer Conference students from all ages and backgrounds can come together, be vulnerable, and solidify friendships which will carry through into the next school year.
As a diverse city campus in the northeast, Boston University couldn’t be more different than many of the big southern schools represented at Summer Conference. While my students’ college experience and time at SuCo is influenced by their campus and culture, some things I know to be true. Our students need RUF, and RUF needs our students. We need each other’s differing cultures, experiences, backgrounds, and opinions. We need to be enriched by hearing how others have been impacted by Christ and how they are growing. It’s clear to me that this past May, God was at work both within and amongst all of our student groups at Summer Conference. We continue to pray for opportunities like SuCo to fellowship across campuses and to have a taste of the unity amidst diversity that is ours in Christ!