For my partners in ministry
STUDENT TESTIMONIES, Summer 2010
As a student athlete at Penn State it’s very challenging to find any free time in my schedule, let alone a ministry that gathers and meets during such a time…After almost 3 years of meeting with Steve, I can say that it has been the most fruitful study I’ve ever attended…I’ve made it a faith that I can truly call my own, and really discovered the things that I believe in… I use the things I learn each week in study, I see results, and I feel the changes in my heart. His persistence on preparing us to reach the community around us has given me the courage, the knowledge, and the ability, to share the gospel on the Penn State campus in a way that has had tremendous results. His passion for the Penn State community and his personal attention to me, has allowed me to lead several people to Christ. Without this ministry my relationship with the Lord and those around me would be nowhere near as strong as they are now. Over the past few years, this ministry and love have guided me and given me the tools to build a strong foundation for my faith, a foundation for which I will be forever grateful.
I really enjoyed Bible Study this semester. The opportunity to be a part of it came at just the right time for me because of problems I was having…and I found a lot of help dealing with those situations from it… This was also my first Bible Study and I really enjoyed going through the book of Daniel and examining it further.
College has most certainly been a challenging missions field for me. With all of the schoolwork, distracting extracurriculars and rampant party culture, it has been very hard to just keep myself focused on God’s kingdom, let alone lead others to it. In addition to keeping me accountable with daily decisions that I make in college, Steve has been instrumental in providing me with content, advice, and personal support for the Bible studies that we have been holding on our floor for the past two years. It was tough for me to find solid, personal, spiritual guidance at college that I had access to at home. There are very few Christian adults involved in the Penn State University and fewer still with the missional enthusiasm and spiritual understanding that Steve possesses. Steve has been more than just a missional coach and spiritual mentor for me at college these past two years; he has been a great friend.
Through Sojourn and other such events like a Faith Panel, I’ve been able to have some incredible conversations with some incredible people that are becoming dear friends. And through those friendships, I’m starting to understand (only starting to) what God is after in His love for others. Having the space and the reason to gather with these people and start building relationships was what I was wanting and needing and I’m so grateful for that!
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“A looming crisis for all American evangelical churches is that they cannot thrive outside of the shrinking enclaves of conservative and traditional people and culture. We have not created the new ministry and communication…models that will flourish and grow in the coming post-Christian very secular Western world. Our vision should be to develop campus ministries, new churches, [and] Christian education/discipleship systems that are effective in those fields in North America.” – Tim Keller
Thanks for taking the time to read about my ministry with CCO at Penn State University.
After working as a pastor in the Philadelphia area for 5 years, God brought my family and I back to Penn State (my alma mater) in 2008 to work with students here. I love what I do, and I am convinced that working with college students is a vitally important ministry.
This is the largest college-going generation of all-time! Over 17 million undergraduates in 2006 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 2009 marked the largest graduating class ever.
The vast majority (77%) of professions of faith come before or during the college years! Yet according to Thom Rainer in The Bridger Generation, only 4% (FOUR!) of the current college-going generation identify themselves as Christians. “Perhaps the most important mission field in contemporary America is the college campus…” The Reforming Tradition
“The most populous areas of the country have the least involvement.” The Ivy Jungle Network found that only 25% of the ministries they surveyed were located in the Northeast and West Coast.
The Challenge is Great: One recent study, which formed the basis for the book UnChristian by David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons, found that of people ages 16-29, only 16% have a favorable view of Christianity, and only 3% have a favorable view of evangelicals.
The People-Group is Strategic: Higher Ed students make up 6.85% of our national population (20.5 million undergraduate and graduate students according to 2006 Census data). But because these people grow to be leaders in every sphere, the impact they have on the world far exceeds their numbers. Accordingly, some of the greatest movements in the history of redemption such as the Haystack Prayer Meeting and the Student Volunteer Movement have been led by students.
The University is a clear-cut fulcrum with which to move the world. The problem here is for the church to realize that no greater service can it render both itself and the cause of the gospel, with which it is entrusted, than to try to recapture the universities for Christ on whom they were all originally founded. One of the best ways of treating the macrocosm is through the handle of the universities in which millions of youths destined to positions of leadership spend, in rigorous training, between four and ten years of the most formative period of their life. More potently than by any other means, change the university and you change the world.”
– Charles Habib Malik (former President of the UN General Assembly and Christian)
The future of the church in North America—and the world–likely hinges on reaching today’s college students!
With over 43,000 students, Penn State ranks among the largest universities in the world.
It possesses both the largest number of alumni(423,779) and the largest alumni association (159,063) in the country.
Penn State tied for 13th among the Top 50 Public National Universities (U.S. News & World Report, 2007).
Newsweek included Penn State among its “Top 50 Global Universities.”
Penn State has the largest Student-Run Philanthropy in the country. In February 2009, Dance Marathon raised $7.7 million for children with cancer.
By at least one standard, Penn State is the #1 party school in the country!
But did you know that there is a higher percentage of practicing Christians in Communist China than at Penn State? (70 million out of 1.3 billion, or 5.4%, vs. 1000 out of 43,000, or 2.3%). Who will reach the other 42,000 students?
Our Ministry Strategy
How do we meet such a great and urgent need? Here’s what I’m doing at Penn State.
I’ve named my ministry Missio Dei, which means “Mission of God.” Missio Dei is a network of Gospel-centered and missional small groups, aiming to reach particular “people-groups” among the student body. I’m training students to lead them, so that these groups can multiply and eventually reach all 600+ people-groups on campus!
This past year we started from scratch. But by May, there were 12 different groups, meeting nearly every day of the week, and reaching all kinds of students, including some of the hardest to reach! Students led several of these groups. Some of them are fairly typical Bible studies, while others are more introductory and apologetic in nature. A few are uniquely geared for the special people-groups they are reaching.
Our Sojourn group is a forum for “questioning faith and doubt.” We meet weekly in a neutral café environment, with some of the leading skeptics on campus, including atheists, agnostics, and Christians of many varieties. Every week, we get to present the Gospel to those who have never heard it before!
This year, Missio Dei is gaining an additional campus minister in Dan Wilkinson, who will work with international students. Dan interned with Missio Dei this past year.
Our ministry partners with colleagues from CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach), as well as other campus ministries and churches in the area. While things are going well, thousands of students still need to be reached.
Would you be interested in partnering with our ministry to Penn State students? When I say I am looking for partners, I mean three things:
First and foremost, we need prayer. Would you be willing to receive monthly emails and to pray for our ministry?
Second, we need contacts. Will you help connect us to anyone you know who might want to partner with us?
Third, we need financial support. We raise 100% of our financial needs. Would you consider supporting us with monthly or special gifts?
Gifts or correspondence can be sent to:CCO 5912 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Please write Steve Lutz in the memo line.
OR, give online at www.ccojubilee.org/donate/ways-to-donate/
But don’t just take my word for it…
Pastor, Alliance Christian Fellowship at Penn State
Steve has been a visionary leader in pioneering the development of the bridge between the church and the campus in Philadelphia. His commitment to making disciples of Jesus who will pursue a lifelong missional calling has been instrumental in the development of a whole legion of new leaders for our church. He has developed a very successful model of campus ministry–both in its reach and its depth of penetration into students’ lives. We have seen a large number of graduates from his campus ministry at Temple stay in the community after graduation, buy houses, and become leaders in the church as home meeting leaders, deacons and elders.
Steve has strong leadership gifts. He develops, communicates, and implements vision very well–a rare package in leadership. He is very personable and warm in his leadership style–very committed to a relational ministry. Steve also uses his communication gifts effectively for the building up, empowering, and sending of students. I have no doubt that his ministry will be fruitful at Penn State University among students there.
lead pastor, liberti church, Philadelphia
Though I came to faith in Christ many years before I met him, Steve was the first pastor I ever had. I had never been baptized or involved in the life of a church, and through Steve’s ministry on campus I was plugged into a local church for the first time.
Temple/Crosswalk alum ‘04
Pastoral Intern & Elder in training, liberti church, Philadelphia
Steve became the campus minister at Temple the year I arrived there as a freshman. At a stage in my life where everything was in question and uncertain, Steve and Jess were a consistent presence in my life, offering me spiritual insight and mentorship. Steve was always the first to challenge me to take up leadership on campus and to commit to a church body while I was in Philadelphia. Steve taught us that even though we were students, we could dare to commit to Christ and to loving others and to setting a strong, spiritual foundation for our future ‘adult’ lives. Because of the Lutz family’s influence in my life, I joined a church and even took up leadership at that church while still a student. Now that I have graduated, I have decided to stay in Philadelphia and at liberti, two places that have become my home. Jesus has used Steve & Jess’s willing hearts to reach us wandering students and I’m sure they will continue to be used that way at Penn State and beyond!
Temple/Crosswalk alum ‘07
I’m eager to speak with you if you have any interest in what I’m doing. Any questions? Feel free to email stevelutzcco[AT]gmail[DOT]com.
If you share my excitement about reaching college students, please consider how you can support this ministry as we move ahead.
Thank you for partnering with us to reach college students!