Chi Alpha Campus Ministries

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The logo for Chi Alpha, introduced in 2006. Different schools often use different variations.

Chi Alpha Campus Ministries (usually known as Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship on campus, but sometimes University Christian Fellowship or "Schoolname" Christian Fellowship, and occasionally Christians in Action) is an Assemblies of God USA[1] Christian ministry for college students. Despite its name, it is not a fraternity or sorority. Chi Alpha is often abbreviated XA.

Chi Alpha is under the United States Missions branch of the Assemblies of God and is open to students of all backgrounds.

Purpose[edit]

The mission of Chi Alpha is to reconcile students to Jesus Christ, thereby transforming the university, the marketplace, and the world. Chi Alphas mission motto is "Every student goes, every student gives, every student prays, and every student welcomes." To this end, the organization is committed to a fivefold philosophy: being a community of worship, prayer, fellowship, discipleship, and mission.

History[edit]

The Assemblies of God began a ministry to collegians in 1947 at the urging of J. Robert Ashcroft (father of John Ashcroft), which consisted of a newsletter sent to college students to encourage them in their faith.

It soon became apparent that a newsletter by itself was inadequate, and so in 1953 Dr. J. Calvin Holsinger[2] chartered the first Assemblies of God student group at Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State University) in Springfield, Missouri[3] where the Assemblies of God headquarters is located. The movement quickly spread to other campuses. For example, the first Chi Alpha to own property was the UC Berkeley chapter, which purchased a house next to campus in 1964.

The name Chi Alpha was inspired by the contemporary Assemblies of God youth movement, Christ's Ambassadors (a phrase in 2 Corinthians 5:20). The initials "CA" were changed to Greek initials "ΧΑ" in order to resemble the names of other college organizations.

Chi Alpha began its development internationally in the 1970s, establishing chapters in Europe under the name Students for Christ,[4] and also into Latin America under various names.

In 1977, the first ever Chi Alpha internship was launched at Western Washington University (WWU) in Bellingham, Washington by the WWU Chi Alpha campus director Brady Bobbink. Since its inception, the internship, known as Campus Ministers in Training (CMIT), has spread to many of the college campuses that Chi Alpha is involved with. CMIT is an internship in which students, after having graduated from a University, dedicate a year of their lives as missionaries to a college campus and receive intense training on how to be an effective missionary for the rest of their lives.

In 1978, Dennis Gaylor became national director of Chi Alpha, and served until April 2013. Chi Alpha is currently lead by Scott Martin.[5]

There are now Chi Alpha ministries on over 310 campuses throughout the United States[6] involving roughly 28,000 students,[7] and many more in sister organizations around the world.

Cultural mentions[edit]

  • The chapters at Georgetown University and the University of New Hampshire were highlighted in a 2003 New York Times article "Of Bart and Homer, and the Many Ways of Faith" - an article about their use of the Simpsons as a Bible study tool,[8] and in 1986 The New York Times mentioned the chapter at Columbia University as representative of a trend of growing Christian fellowships on campuses in the northeastern United States.[9]
  • Annie Dillard wrote a widely-reprinted essay, "Singing with the Fundamentalists",[10] about her experiences singing with a group of students from the Chi Alpha chapter at Western Washington University (a chapter which operates under the local name of Campus Christian Fellowship).

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ About Chi Alpha
  2. ^ Harrup, Scott (2009). "What can be learned from history?". ag.org. Assemblies of God. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  3. ^ Bixler, Frances (2002). "Chi Alpha". In Stanley M. Burgess. The new international dictionary of Pentecostal and charismatic movements. (Rev. and expanded ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House. p. 521. ISBN 0310224810. 
  4. ^ SfC Europe: About Us
  5. ^ http://www.chialpha.com/About-XA/national-leadership.html
  6. ^ "Our Story / About XA". Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  7. ^ Stat from "About Us" box on official Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Springfield-MO/Chi-Alpha-Campus-Ministries-USA/6217349085
  8. ^ Zezima, Katie (June 14, 2003). "Of Bart and Homer, and the Many Ways of Faith". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ New York Times, "Religion Plays Growing Role on Campuses", January 5, 1986, Sunday Late City Final Edition, Section 1, Page 37, Column 1. Available online at http://www.nytimes.com/1986/01/05/us/religion-plays-growing-role-on-campuses.html and also at http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1964&dat=19860118&id=8hYjAAAAIBAJ&sjid=1M4FAAAAIBAJ&pg=2319,6140718
  10. ^ The Yale Review Vol. 74, No. 2 (Winter, 1985), 312. It has been reprinted several times (see her bibliography for info on the reprints).