is director of Chi Alpha campus ministries for the Assemblies of God.
He spoke recently with Kirk Noonan, associate editor, about American
college students and what the Fellowship is doing to reach them.
Evangel: Why is Chi Alpha needed?
There is major competition for souls on Americas campuses. We
have found that reaching students during the first semester of their
freshman year is crucial. Beer and credit card companies, fraternities
and a host of others are waiting for students the second they step onto
campus. Because so many life-determining decisions are made in college,
we work hard to show students that their relationship with the Lord
is extremely important and will help them in all aspects of their college
career and throughout their lives.
Evangel: What do you say to a
person who wants to minister to college students, but feels intimidated?
Gaylor: Forget the intimidation
and go for it. College students want to be loved, valued and cared for.
Its amazing how much of an impact believers can have when they
reach out to college students. College students are more accepting than
Evangel: Many people think that
most college kids just want to party.
Gaylor: It might appear
that way based on media reports. But I dont think they are as
out of control as some would lead us to believe. Some students do fall
into the traps of alcohol, drugs and sex. But Chi Alpha exists to help
students avoid those temptations. Even though there are a lot of things
vying for students attention, the impact of authentic, loving
and caring Christians can be profound.
Evangel: What are some things
our readers need to know about college students?
Gaylor: There are thousands
of students who desire a powerful spiritual experience and they are
open to hearing the message of Christ they just need someone
to share it with them. I have also seen that students can add a vitality,
richness and excitement to church congregations if they are allowed
to contribute and give of their resources and time.
Evangel: What sets Chi Alpha
apart from other campus ministries?
Gaylor: The uniqueness of
Chi Alpha is our understanding of the work and power of the Holy Spirit.
That is reflected in many aspects of our ministry from worship
to the way we live our lives. The supernatural working of the Holy Spirit
is a vital element of Chi Alpha and we have found that that aspect speaks
to todays student who wants to experience God firsthand in a mighty
and powerful way.
Evangel: When does the discipleship
process begin in Chi Alpha?
Gaylor: Throughout the school
year we talk of values and principles. Over the course of time, changes
in behavior in the students we minister to begin to occur. Our discipleship
style also works well because its done in the context of relationships.
But, ultimately, we trust the Holy Spirit to bring about internal changes
that are eventually reflected in external actions.
Evangel: What do you say to a
non-believer who might be interested in Chi Alpha?
Gaylor: Jesus Christ will
change your life for the better. I think it would be a wise student
who checks out a campus Christian organization and seriously considers
the claims of Jesus Christ.
Evangel: Anything else?
Gaylor: If we can change
a student, we can change the world.