Illuminated by the light of the Tower, a congregation of approximately 70 students from various campus ministries gathered to worship and meet with fellow Christians in their majors Thursday night.
Hosted by Campus Renewal, the ministry mixer brought together a multitude on-campus ministries to praise God. The event started with an icebreaker and an opening prayer before launching into a praise and worship session led by Kelsie Rogers, an intern with Campus Renewal.
Undeclared freshman Madison Hesse attended the event with her ministry. She said she enjoyed networking with students who are interested in business like she is, and appreciates that Campus Renewal opens that door of opportunity.
“It’s really cool that it’s in the center of campus,” Hesse said. “I don’t know if anyone who walked by joined in, but it gives them that opportunity.”
Founded at UT about 20 years ago, Campus Renewal is a networking organization that has since spread to six cities across the nation.
The organization provides the opportunity to get involved in campus ministries to students, who may feel disconnected from other Christians on such a big campus, said Rogers, a management senior.
“In the stereotypical Christian [attitude], older people are like ‘oh you’re going to UT, people aren’t going to like you if you’re Christian,’” Rogers said. “And I think a lot of people come in thinking ‘there’s nothing for me in my religion or with my faith here,’ and I think that’s actually the opposite of what’s available to them.”
UT Austin director Kevin Ling leads Campus Renewal and meets with the various ministries to empower students to host events like this one. He said the social stigma against younger Christians is steadily being lifted.
“I think at the end of the day people are looking for answers, whether they’re young or old, everyone’s always asking questions,” Ling said. “Some people [are] more stubborn than others, but ultimately … a lot of younger people are really interested in being conscious in the way they live. For us as Christians, we definitely feel like we’re an answer.”