“Why I am part of Chi Alpha (and I plan to be for a long time)”

Written by duncan on July 12th, 2014

Written by: Brent Keizer

        When I first heard about this group called “Chi Alpha,” I remember telling my parents how I had met a group of cool guys that were starting a ministry at Colorado State University and mentioned, “They’re with some organization called Chi Alpha.” I had never heard of it before then. A little later my mom reported back to me, after her doing a little research on the internet, that she strongly approved of this group called “Chi Alpha.” At the time I didn’t even know the name Assemblies of God. I certainly didn’t know the history of Chi Alpha, and admittedly, I still don’t know the history very well, and I didn’t know about Sam Houston State University where much of the staff team (well, all of the team) had studied at and come from. From the very first Outpost meeting, split evenly between 10 staff and maybe 10 students, you certainly wouldn’t have known that Chi Alpha is one of the largest campus ministries in the country. None of the students really knew each other very well in the first semester.   It was something like showing up to a party where every person only knows the host. You feel special for being invited but suspicious of everyone else. That leads me to ponder, why did I or any of the other students stick around?

After experiencing a pioneering effort from the other side, from the minister side, you realize that ministry does require “two to tango,” so to speak. I never doubted the commitment of the staff team at CSU. They came ready to give themselves to the students in Colorado, and at some level each of us can admit to feeling and knowing that with certainty. I knew this, for example, when Jake, my small group leader, would go out of his way to serve me – in particular when he would give me rides to and from campus after I wrecked my car. But when we reflect on the successes of Outpost’s initial years, we pause to realize that the commitment of the staff alone wasn’t enough. When Nate, Lindsey, Lauren, and I first arrived in Russia we immediately looked for “Timothy-like” students. Students who possessed that same special quality that the apostle Paul regarded in his disciple. Realistically, there were a lot of qualities we were looking for, but there was just one quality which in ministry, and in life, is trump. We knew that we could have a lot of great conversations, see students experience the Lord, gather students together for meetings, and a lot more, but without this one quality it would have been largely an unfruitful effort. That quality I’m referring to is commitment. Student ministry’s success hinges on the commitment of students. Sound familiar? This is the pattern of the Lord who, after departing until he could be seen no more, entrusted His ministry to twelve men with no back-up plan or reserves to come in and take their place should they have quit.

Out of that group of 15 or so students who first were introduced to this organization called “Chi Alpha,” four of us are still part of Chi Alpha today after finishing school, and six of us have given or are about to give a year back to the ministry after graduating. That’s phenomenal, in my opinion. So, what then, were we just special students that God hand-picked out of the teaming multitudes of students at CSU? I think I can safely speak on behalf of each of us that we didn’t possess anything in particular that would have prepared us to lead better or be the kind of person you want in your ministry, except for this one quality – we have all been committed. I have never been extraordinary at leading a small group, but I have stayed to lead a small group for four years. In fact, I was ready to quit leading small group my first year about two months in. But Jake, who had committed himself to me, asked me, did I really want to be a small group leader? Out of my moment of least commitment to His cause, Jesus taught me the essence of commitment. Jake literally said to me, “If you have it, they will come.” We put that into practice. Jake, Mark, who was co-leading with me, and I would have “small group” together. We would literally meet with each other without any students because there weren’t any students coming, but sure enough, they began to come. Conversations began happening with peers and classmates, and after a couple weeks we began having students come to our group regularly every week. I have abided by that principle ever since.

This is something I feel passionate about because it one of the greatest needs of this generation. As Loren Cunningham noted in his own ministry through YWAM, you learn to minister “in the opposite spirit.” How do you minister to a half-hearted, half-committed-but-not-really-committed generation of students? You minister through commitment. In speaking about love and marriage, pastor Tim Keller has this to say about commitment, “In sharp contrast with our culture, the Bible teaches that the essence of marriage is a sacrificial commitment to the good of the other. That means that love is more fundamentally action than emotion.” Just a cursory reading of the Bible reveals this to be the very nature of the love of God: “His steadfast love endures forever” Psalm 107:1; He is “abounding in steadfast love to all,” Psalm 86:5; “Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, . . . for his love endures forever” Jeremiah 33:11; “You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham” Micah 7:20; “And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” Ezra 3:11. And on and on goes the same refrain, “His love endures forever.” Steadfast, faithful, committed – these words describe the character of God’s love.

I think it can be said that you have not really loved something or someone without commitment. When couples say they don’t want to get married because, “we don’t need a piece of paper to define our love,” they are essentially saying, I don’t love this person enough to commit myself to him or her (Tim Keller paraphrase). So why did we, as the first students, stick around when there wasn’t a group or a movement or anything to really be part of? As noted, there are two main ingredients to student ministry: the commitment of the ministers and the commitment of the students. But there’s another factor – the one commitment that lies at the cornerstone of all ministry, which is the commitment of Jesus Christ. We didn’t just have a team of people who had given themselves to us, we began to realize there was a God who had eternally given himself to us through his son, and I have a hunch that if you were to ask any of the students who have stayed with Chi Alpha why they did so, they would each tell you how at some point they began to fall in love with the faithfulness of God in Christ. To have that, you don’t need much else. You just need a group of people committed to one another even when there’s hurt, even when there’s failure, even when there are disappointments, times of being overlooked, times of not receiving due credit, even when we must lay down our rights and dreams. All of these things can be forgiven because commitment sustains all. Simply put, do you love enough to be committed?


The first LTC class at XA CSU. 5 students pictured here continued to give to Chi Alpha at Colorado State University after graduating, and all members of the staff team are still working at Colorado State University except Jake who is working with Chi Alpha in Russia and Tyler in India.

ltc picture


You must be logged in to post a comment.