In The Church, On The Campus

Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Harvard University has been deeply involved with CTK from the beginning. One of our former campus ministers, Bradley Barnes, now serves CTK as the pastor in Newton. In Cambridge, we always have many Harvard undergraduate and graduate students involved in the church.

Many people are curious about Harvard students – and what makes them tick. I often say that you have to understand the hope of being a Harvard student. The promise Harvard makes is that if you merit acceptance then you will receive access. These two loci of merit and access shape not just this educational institution, but also seem to shape our lives in Boston at large. We obsess over “getting in” and “getting ahead.”

Yet recently I spoke with a freshman who simply stated that she was lonely. She felt she cared for her new friends at Harvard, but often it seemed like they didn’t reciprocate. “Everyone is busy with their own thing,” she said.

Here lies the paradox of Harvard – and of Boston as well. On the one hand, God blesses hard work, and we want the gospel to have in-roads into the hub of cultural authority. On the other, those pursuits easily become ultimate hopes – which finally leave us empty.

However, I’ve seen the church teach us a different way. Into this paradox the Christian community bears witness – to the goodness of those pursuits, but to the primacy of the goodness of God! God calls us to pursue excellence and to bless others, but only as a means of glorifying God. In RUF we are training students to bear witness to our identity in Christ. I can point to any number of students engaging in a ministry on campus, as well as diving into the life of CTK. In the church, there is a singular identity, and leadership in this community means service. In RUF and in CTK we learn to see ourselves as we are – valuable in God’s eyes and equipped to serve others with this unshakable confidence.

Please pray for Harvard students:

  • Pray for the Christian students to grow in their confidence in Christ.
  • Pray for a fruitful witness to Christ on campus.
  • Pray for the building up of the future servants of the church on our campuses.

Rev. Jeremy Mullen has been the RUF campus minister at Harvard University since 2009. He participated in RUF as an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, and before seminary served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. The Mullen family is part of CTK Cambridge, and love the care they’ve experienced through the CTK family.