Every Thursday evening, Christian songs can be heard from Forum Hall in the Student Union as members of student ministry Christian Challenge meet to build their religious community at Kansas State.
Rachel Ryan, junior in education, said she started coming to Christian Challenge after being invited by a friend’s older sister.
“I come to Christian Challenge for the community and as an extra way to gain wisdom and knowledge in my faith and to grow in fellowship with other believers,” Ryan said. “I’ve learned that community is really important. That is key in growth, [both] personally and in your walk with Christ.”
Andrew Dunn, sophomore in electrical engineering, said he also goes to Christian Challenge to interact with like-minded students.
“It helps me to growth in my faith, to grow in wisdom and understanding of what the Bible says and how I can live in community with other believers,” Dunn said.
On the night of March 7, the associate director of Christian Challenge, Brian Sturm, shared a message from the biblical book of Proverbs. Sturm explained a contrast between the biblical ideas of wisdom and foolishness.
“A guy who discipled me said, ‘It’s preventative ministry with college students,’” Sturm said. “We’re talking about today, foolish choices that lead to poverty. If we can solve those when we’re young, it saves a lot of grief when you’re my age because you’ve had bad habits.”
Sturm said he works with Christian Challenge because of the impact Christianity had on his own life in college.
“Students are trying to figure out what they’re going to live for, what life’s about,” Sturm said. “Growing up, I was in church. I had a lot of preconceived notions about who Jesus was, and I never checked it out for myself. When I did, it radically changed my life, so I want to help students that are interested just to grapple with who He is and set aside our preconceived notions and investigate it.”
Back when Sturm was a student, Christian Challenge was known as the Baptist Student Union. The name changed so the inclusivity and goals of the student ministry would be more clear.
“Everybody hated the name because a lot of people weren’t Baptists and they felt like they couldn’t come if they weren’t a Baptist,” Sturm said. “We’re loosely associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, but a high percentage of students that’d come weren’t Baptist, so they’d see it and go, ‘Oh, I’m not welcome there.’ We also had students confused that we were the Black Student Union, because we would call it ‘BSU.’”
Sturm said he loves working with college students because they are in a decisive time of their lives.
“It’s a great time to follow [Christ],” Sturm said. “It’s just a key place in life when we’re figuring out what we’re going to live for, who we’re going to marry, all those kinds of things. [Students] have such vision to change the world, to offer yourselves fully in whatever that is. It’s just exciting to be around.”
After attending Christian Challenge for a couple of years, Dunn said he has been encouraged to act on his faith in his everyday life.
“I’ve learned the biggest thing would be intentionality in my faith,” Dunn said. “How I can be a light to the other people on campus and my desire to reach others.”
Christian Challenge meets every Thursday in Forum Hall at 7 p.m. with a second service at 8:45 p.m.