As staff, we get to see things on campus with a long-term perspective-and I’m starting to be convinced that’s how God’s desires us to view our own lives. Since students are often only involved in our fellowship for a few years, they lack long-term vision. One of the coolest parts of our job is to help them think about how what they do now can affect the campus 5 or 10 years from now.
One of our goals in the last 4 years has been to reach out to specific communities on campus that we felt were particularly absent of gospel-centered believers. As God provided gifted student leaders who were active in these communities, we started small group Bible studies there. And then we prayed, waited, and watched as the Lord wooed students’ hearts and drew them into relationship with Him.
Two of these student leaders have made a particularly strong impact on their communities and are now moving on to slightly different ministries. We want to introduce you to them, and celebrate how the Lord has used them to spread His name.
Colleen Kramar is a graduating senior who has spent hours, days and nights (literally) pouring into a community of resident assistants (RA’s) at CNU. Because of her I have a new understanding of how, if you want to reach the busiest, most talented leaders in your society, you have to go to them. For multiple semesters she had engaging conversations with other RA’s while on desk duty, during events for residents, or while just hanging out. In the fall, Colleen started a GIG (group investigating God) for any RA’s who wanted to talk about Christianity. Countless times she has been our link to parts of campus where IV would otherwise be deemed irrelevant. Because of her, more than ever, IV leaders are daring to leave their rooms and GO, instead of waiting for others to come to us. This fall, Colleen will be joining us on IV staff as an intern at Elon University in North Carolina!
Erin Rist is a rising senior who could be described as beautifully eclectic. Every time I see Erin she is either wearing about 6 head scarves – or a zombie costume. But who else could we have sent into our theater department? Like Colleen, Erin has witnessed to other students in her community both one-on-one and by leading a small group Bible Study. Her style is much more spontaneous (“Want to go to the beach?”) and artsy, but just as honest and intriguing. The Lord has used her to grow a strong, thriving, tight-knit group of theater-major believers, out of which came Tori and Chris- two new small group leaders for next year. God’s faithfulness in raising up new leaders frees Erin to be our Prayer & Hospitality Coordinator for the fall. As Colleen has helped us see the power in going out, Erin is helping us become a people who are welcoming to even the strangest strangers.
Colleen and Erin have so much in common-they both have huge hearts for the lost, they both naturally go out of their way to befriend nearly anyone they meet, and they both have allowed God to push them far out of their comfort zones to speak the Truth about Christ to communities that often shun Christianity. (All while having 2 of the most packed schedules I’ve ever seen.) I can’t wait to hear what God has in store for them next!
Update, August 2012:
Colleen Kramar is now serving as a full-time InterVarsity staff at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.
Erin Rist is working full-time with InterVarsity as the staff at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC.