Religious group reaches out to all students

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An assembly of students come together to raise their hands and hearts to their savior, Jesus Christ. They gather around a praise and worship band and move physically and emotionally with the music.

Members lift their heads toward the ceiling and welcome the Lord into their lives with everlasting conviction.

Every Wednesday, the members of Chi Alpha gather in the K-State Student Union Little Theatre to grow closer to Christ through fellowship. At 7 p.m., band members tune their instruments, and a flow of diverse individuals enter the theater. All carry a smile and warm embrace.

Bryan Elliot, Chi Alpha director, said the group of 50-60 students who attend the weekly meetings has grown in the past years in number and in spirit.

“I’ve seen students have their futures radically altered,” Elliot said. “Last year we had a Japanese student that was an agnostic and just wanted to experience American culture, so he came. He ended up becoming a believer and getting baptized the week before he went back to Japan.”

Jonathan Culver, freshman in civil engineering, recently joined Chi Alpha and said he already has seen Christ work in him through the fellowship.

“I felt more in touch with the students because they were students and not adults,” Culver said. “To come to a place with just students is great. I’ve been able to talk to more people spiritually about God. I’m more open.”

During college, Culver said he plans to become an intricate part of Chi Alpha as he works to become an alumnus of the group and eventually a youth leader and member of the worship team.

“Whether you’re saved, you know Christ, you don’t know Christ or you want to know Christ, you can still come,” Culver said. “We’re all students. We’re all family – one big goofy family. God changes people in big ways. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him.”

The connection with God that Chi Alpha presents to its members stays with them long after they have graduated college. Brett Lohr, Chi Alpha student coordinator, is an example of the bond.

Lohr graduated from K?State in December 2005 and said his dedication to Chi Alpha was not as strong during his college career as it is today.

“It’s been pretty much amazing,” Lohr said. “Chi Alpha, for me, has created the realization that as a Christian I have a responsibility to take action. I actually was an alumni before I became really involved and we went to World Mission Summit to impress the importance of missions throughout the world, and it hit me then that I hadn’t done anything to change the world.”

Chi Alpha is an outreach, Lohr said. The “mission mindset” of the group focuses on what it can do for the rest of campus. Next fall, Lohr said he plans to participate in an internship and eventually head up a Chi Alpha of his own.

“The two overriding Biblical commands are to love God and love everyone else,” Lohr said. “It’s a really easy command when you get down to it.”

New and old members of Chi Alpha said they share a love for the Lord and also the rest of the world. Members said the group always welcomes new members to share in their fellowship and relationship with God.

“If they’re not a Christian, I hope they have an accurate interpretation of Jesus Christ and an open invitation,” Elliot said. “If they are a Christian, I want them to have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Wherever they are on the spectrum, I want them to grow deeper.”

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