Campus Stories

Nominal Christian Calls Herself to Faith

One of our challenges in InterVarsity is how to help students who had nominal faith in high school come into adult faith in college. Jackie committed to adult faith three months ago; the first few steps she took are quite normal, but the twist at the end is incredible.

Here are four steps you can take to guide the journeys of students like Jackie:

Step 1: Be Friendly.

An InterVarsity leader first met Jackie in the student union. They just struck up a conversation, and Jackie was invited to an InterVarsity event.

Step 2: Ask Questions.

Jamie, the InterVarsity staff at Jackie's school, asked Jackie questions about herself like, “What is your spiritual background?”

Jackie said, “Kind of Christian.”

So Jamie explored further, “What role does your faith play in your life?”

Jackie was confused. “What do you mean?”

Jamie went deeper. “What do you think is most important about Christian faith?”

“I really don’t know,” Jackie admitted.

Step 3: Help Them Contribute in Some Way.

Jackie is in a sorority and she likes to be involved in campus activities. She embraces leadership opportunities.

On her campus, InterVarsity decided to do the Red Cup Campaign. After a few weeks of Red Cup on campus, the chapter wanted to do a special event where students could consider faith in Jesus.

In the planning meeting, Jamie asked all of her students, “Who wants to speak at the event? Who wants to do the invitation to faith?”

To her great surprise, it was Jackie who raised her hand. (What would you do if a nominal Christian volunteered to give the call to commitment at your event?!)

Step 4: Let Them Invite Others to Follow Jesus Before They Do!

While this is not a strategy InterVarsity would recommend every staff take with every nominal Christian, Jamie took a risk and allowed Jackie to speak.

She met with Jackie ahead of time and asked her, "How have you been growing in your faith?"

“That is a really good question," Jackie said, 'I should think about that.”

Jamie encouraged her to connect her story to the Red Cup campaign. Jamie also put Jackie at the beginning of the program, because she had understandable concerns about what Jackie might say.

Jackie stood in front of the room, and began to share her story as a lead-in to the gospel.

She stopped herself mid-statement, looked directly at Jamie, and blurted out, “Oh, I get it now!”

Jackie told me (Doug), “That moment was amazing. I had a feeling of God’s comfort. I could see that all the years of my life were leading up to this moment.”

Jackie told the entire gathering, “I am going to follow Jesus right now, and you should too!"

Her honest moment with God triggered a chain-reaction of other people responding honestly to God.

Jamie later said, "It was amazing and hilarious to watch the preacher harvest herself."

What are some ways you've walked alongside a nominal Christan to help them make a commitment to Christ? Share your experience in a comment below.