Do you sometimes hate those first meetings with people? You know the kind that university life seems to be packed with:
Hey. How are you? What’s your major? What dorm do you live in?
Over and over again. When really we all just want to be able to kick back and be comfortable with each other. But sometimes you gotta go through the awkward to get to the comfortable.
Who We Are
So: we’re Chi Alpha. We’re great, thanks for asking! We don’t have a major—although we are on university campuses all over the world. We’re a network of Christian ministries that look a little bit different on every campus—but here’s what you’re always sure to find: college-aged men and women who are at once wrestling to become who they are (through school or work or life experience), and to connect with God. You’ll probably find people who are in all kinds of stages of both pursuits: self-discovery and God-discovery.
Those are the quick get-to-know-us facts. We’re really excited to connect with you on your campus and talk with you about Jesus, but until we get that privilege, here is a place to find out more about who Jesus is and what He has done for you!
If you’d prefer to read more about us, you can dig in to find what we believe, why we exist, who we’re sponsored by, what’s up with our name, how we got here, current (inter)national happenings, and lots of other stuff. But we’d love to get to the part where we can hang out and be comfortable together—so if you’re ready for that, you might just want to jump to our campus locator to find a Chi Alpha near you. We can’t wait to meet you—awkwardness and all!
In the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:20,
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
Our movement of campus ministries finds its identity in this passage. We believe that God longs to have each and every person be reconciled to Himself, and that the way that re-connection happens is through the representation of his people. Each of us who takes on the identity of “Christian” becomes Christ’s ambassador—or christou apostoloi in Greek, which we shorten to the first letters “Chi” and “Alpha,” or XA. Our name is our constant reminder that each of us has a real part to play in this world. We each can carry Him within us to bring Him closer to the people around us.
Who We’re Sponsored By
Chi Alpha is sponsored by the Assemblies of God (AG). That means the AG provides each local campus with support, resources and connectivity to a larger worldwide movement. They also work to equip the leaders of each local XA, both the vocational missionaries associated with each group and the student leaders.
The sponsorship by the Assemblies of God does not mean that you have to have a history with the AG. You don’t have to have any particular denominational connection to be welcomed in our groups.
Where We’re Located
Chi Alpha was founded in 1953 at Missouri State University, formerly Southwest Missouri State University, and is on more than 300 campuses throughout the U.S. and around the world today.
Why We Exist
We are a Spirit-Empowered, diverse community of believers on university campuses, declaring in word and lifestyle our faith in Jesus Christ, equipped to fulfill our purpose in God’s global plan.
We reconcile students to Christ, equipping them through Spirit-Filled communities of prayer, worship, fellowship, discipleship and mission to transform the university, the marketplace, and the world.
We seek to introduce fellow collegians to an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. We plan to do this through…
- prayer…Communication with God.
- worship…Expressions of thanks through word, music, and service.
- fellowship…Community of students developing quality relationships.
- discipleship…Learning about Jesus and following His example.
- mission…Living a life that reflects our relationship with God in what we say and do.
These core values represent Chi Alpha Campus Ministries’ most deeply held beliefs. They serve to guide our decisions, leadership practices, and community life. All our organizational actions will reflect these core values.
Community is a covenantal value shaping our mission to the university and our priority to come together for biblically commanded action. The salvation of Jesus offers the forgiveness of sins and the incorporation into the people of God. As a collegiate community we are to be “salt and light” showing to the world what it means to authentically love God and one’s neighbor.
God is first revealed in Scripture as a creative God. We are committed to achieving commitment that appreciates the proven with an adaptive open eye to what He has in store today and beyond. His Spirit will release to us new ways, ideas, and plans.
A diverse community reflects a reconciliation of students to Jesus across all campus demographics. Each student possesses unique gifts, and we seek to encourage their full implementation in the community. We also accept diverse methods and approaches to ministry. We celebrate these unique ministry expressions as the demonstration of what God is doing on our campuses and encourage their effective application.
Striking performance, exceptional virtue, and continuous improvement exemplify excellence. Excellence goes the “second mile” by doing the best possible job. It calls out of us far more than we can possibly imagine. Excellence guides how we make significant choices. It causes us to discover our true God-given capabilities. Excellence depicts our approach to leadership, work, organization, and our life together.
Integrity describes the state of sound moral uprightness. It is characterized by honesty, truthfulness, respect, and sincerity. Integrity in its simplest biblical definition means wholeness or completeness. Integrity invites oneself into a partnership with the Holy Spirit. This fosters an atmosphere of credibility and plausibility among those to whom we minister and within our communities on campus. Integrity promotes long-term success.
Servant-leadership is a practice that places the good of those led and their progressive maturity over the self-interest of the leader. It shares power and status for the sake of the common good of each individual and the community. Its chief motive is to serve-first, as opposed to lead-first. The final goal is to empower others to become servants themselves.
Why Reach Students?
To connect with individuals who would not otherwise encounter a biblical message of Jesus Christ. A high percentage of those deciding to become followers of Christ though the efforts of students and staff in Chi Alpha have had no previous exposure to the gospel of Jesus or a Christian church.
To impact our world’s most influential institution, the college and university campus. The social, scientific, and spiritual theories of today’s campuses will become the accepted norm for tomorrow’s grade schools, businesses and television programs. What America is and what it will become is directly related to what happens on its university campuses. As a nation’s campuses go, so goes the future of the nation.
To reach the more than one million international students studying in the United States. Historically, we see an increase in the blessing of God when we focus on reaching the peoples of the world. George Barna says international student ministry is an “opportunity of a lifetime.” International students speak English, want to make American friends, and want to learn about our culture and our religion. These students are at our doorstep.
To protect the investment that the Church has made in our youth. An education at a Bible or Christian college is a great choice for many students. However, a significantly higher number of Christian youth will attend a secular college or university. The Church invests too much time, money, and prayer in its youth to not protect and empower that investment during the critical transitions from home to campus and the campus to the marketplace.
What We Believe
- We believe the Bible is God’s message to us, so we seek to understand and obey its truth.
- We believe there is one God who is three persons, so we yearn to know Him in all of His complexity and beauty.
- We believe Jesus is fully God and fully human, so we rejoice that Christ can be a bridge between us and God.
- We believe people throughout history have sinned against God, so we are deeply aware that we too are marked by willful disobedience.
- We believe God extends forgiveness to us through Christ, so we repent and rejoice in our forgiveness.
- We believe God offers freedom from sin’s grasp, so we live lives that are pleasing to God.
- We believe followers of Jesus must be empowered by the Holy Spirit, so we expect supernatural power in our daily lives.
- We believe that God can heal both the body and the heart, so we pray with faith and hope.
- We believe a mark of surrender to the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues, so we pray that God would grant us this supernatural gift.
- We believe in the Church, so we live in this community of faith, inviting others to join us.
- We believe God gives leaders as gifts to His Church, so we serve those whom the Lord entrusts to us.
- We believe God commands his followers to celebrate communion and baptism, so we practice these symbolic actions, reflecting on their significance.
- We believe Jesus will return to claim His Church, so we live in expectancy of His coming.
- We believe Christ will one day be seen clearly as King on earth, so we live as citizens of His Kingdom now.
- We believe God is the ultimate Judge, so we live knowing that our choices will echo through eternity.
- We believe we will live with God forever, so we live with hope regardless of our circumstances.
For more details, see the 16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God.
How We Got Here
First Chi Alpha group starts on the Campus of Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State University) by J. Calvin Holsinger.
First Chi Alpha house opens at the University of California-Berkeley.
First regional SALT (Student Activist Leadership Training) held in Waxahachie, Texas.
First Institute of Campus Ministry now Reach the University Institute (RUI).
- The “San Antonio Seven” – Dave Gable, Dennis Gaylor, Herschel Rosser, Harv Herman Jr., Dave Argue, Jim Hall and Brady Bobbink – meet to develop the 4-fold philosophy of Chi Alpha: Being a community of worship, fellowship, discipleship and witness Acts 2:24-47.
- First campus ministry internship at Western Washington University with Greg Smith, now Campus Missionary-in-Training (CMIT).
Dennis Gaylor is appointed as national Chi Alpha director.
International Student Ministry launched now XA internationals (XAi).
Assemblies of God Executive Presbytery moves Chi Alpha from National Youth Department to become a department in AG U.S. Missions.
Forged first Chi Alpha national staff team in Springfield, Missouri.
- First Christian International Student Conference, now All Nations Student Conference.
- Adding “prayer” to the four fold philosophy and introduced a new mision statement-“reconciling students to Christ to transform the university, the marketplace, and the world.”
- First Student Institute of Campus Ministry (SICM) at Western Washington University.
World Salt Conference in Los Angeles, California.
- The first World Missions Summit in Louisville, Kentucky.
- Launched Discover the Nations Conference.
Launched Chi Alpha 2010 a five year strategic plan focused on redefining Chi Alpha’s core values, vision and mission, as well as, pioneering new groups, increasing missionary support, energizing Holy Spirit empowerment, & adding full-time area and district directors.
The World Missions Summit 2.
- Campus Missions Conference – records largest Chi Alpha staff attendance up to that point.
- Launched Chi Alpha 2015 a five year strategic plan focused on branding, diversity, post college network, resources, systems, and post high school transitions.
National Director Dennis Gaylor resigns April 12, 2013 after serving in the national office almost 35 years.
- Chi Alpha officially announces E. Scott Martin as the seventh national director of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A.
- Chi Alpha is organized on 312 campuses led by more than 771 campus ministry staff and involves 28,000 students.
Check out more photos and history on Facebook.
How We Cooperate
Chicago Agreement: Unity in Mission
As ministries committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and united in his mission on college campuses, the following groups listed below met on October 25, 2010 and agreed to teach the staff, volunteers, faculty and student leadership of our organizations the following principles about relationships with other Christian groups (John 13: 34 & 35).
- We do not regard any campus as our exclusive field. We recognize that many students and faculty may be helped through the various appeals and styles of the different organizations.
- We will seek to establish relationships and build bridges with our counterparts in other Christian groups on campus. When establishing ministries on new campuses, we will take the initiative to communicate with the leadership of existing groups.
- We will speak well of and refrain from criticism of each other’s ministries and members.
- We commit to addressing problems on a local, regional or national level by humbly communicating with our counterparts, seeking the Lord together to resolve the issues.
- We affirm the leadership commitments students and faculty have made to each other’s ministries and will not actively recruit them away from those groups. When starting a new campus work, each organization will endeavor to select new leaders, not leaders from other ministries.
- We recognize students and faculty have the freedom to choose their involvement with any campus ministry. In general, we will encourage them to select and be involved with one primary organization.
- We will encourage collaborative efforts on a voluntary basis between our organizations. We are open to share experiences and resources to assist each other with the unique challenges of campus ministry.
Our work was built on the Trail West Agreement of 1971, in which leaders from several campus ministries met to develop a practical means of settling conflicts between local leaders on a number of campuses across the country.
- Asian American Christian Fellowship – Melanie Mar Chow & Evelyn Fan
- Great Commission Ministries Churches – Greg Van Nada & Steve Hayes
- Baptist Collegiate Ministry – John Moore & Ken Owens
- The Impact Movement – Charles Gilmer
- Campus Ambassadors – Valorie Nordbye & Ryan Miller
- InterVarsity Christian Fellowship – Jim Lundgren & Janet Luhrs Balajthy
- Campus Crusade for Christ – Mark Gauthier & Keith Davy
- The Navigators – Jim Luebe & Mike Kozlarek
- Campus Outreach – Kent Bailey & Mike Hearon
- North American Mission Board – Mark Lydecker & Chad Childress
- Chi Alpha – Dennis Gaylor & Curtis Cole
- Reformed University Fellowship – Rod Mays
- Christian Union – Matt Bennett & Dave Riner
- Student Mobilization – Chuck Hetzler & Ted Shimer
- Coalition for Christian Outreach – Vince Burens & Dan Dupee
- Young Life College – Mike Gaffney & Steve Blacksmith
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes – Jeff Martin