United States (MNN) – Hollywood often portrays Greek students from sororities and fraternities as unconcerned party animals. This cultural stereotype has leaked into the American Church, causing some people to believe Greek students do not want Jesus.
Greek and Christian
But, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship‘s Ellaine Ursuy, campus staff minister with Greek InterVarsity in West Michigan, says this is not the case. Many Greek students are hungry for Christ—this is why Greek InterVarsity exists.
“Greek InterVarsity is an organization that seeks to see fraternity and sorority students’ lives transformed through the Gospel. So, we do that really practically by starting Bible studies in fraternities and sororities that are led by fraternity and sorority students.”
In college, some of Ursuy’s sorority sisters helped introduce her to Christ. She knows firsthand how reaching Greek students with Christ can have an impact on more than just the personal level.
“Nationally, we focus on fraternity and sorority students as a part of InterVarsity because we know that a vast majority of senators, a vast majority of CEOs and other people in high power jobs will come out of fraternities and sororities,” Ursuy shares.
“In universities themselves, it’s around 70 percent of the student leadership or the student body itself is Greek. So, we hope to see students make decisions to follow Jesus before they get in positions of power and before they get into jobs of power so that ultimately they can change the world.”
Engaging Students With Christ
Greek InterVarsity has a couple of taglines to start engaging with Greek students and invite them into a conversation. One of them is ‘Would Jesus go Greek?’. The answer? Probably yes. Ursuy says Greek fraternities and sororities were set up by Christians. Many of the values recited for rituals and ceremonies come from the Bible.
“It’s a matter of helping them re-find their roots. So, we’ll do what we call “ritual Bible studies” where I’ll send students off to go read all of their initiation ceremonies and pull out all the Bible verses out of that and then they’ll do a study on those within their fraternity or sorority house,” Ursuy says.
For this reason, Ursuy says it’s easier than some realize to live out a Christian faith in the Greek setting. But, being a Christian in a Greek sorority or fraternity doesn’t mean students withdraw from Greek activities. They still attend social events and parties, but they are doing it a little different now.
Ursuy jokes with her students by telling them to go to the parties and have fun. She wants them to have the most fun, but with an iced cappuccino in hand. From the sounds of it, students are doing this and more.
The Impact of One Student
“A student I had a few years ago who I had met on campus and over the course of three weeks, I shared the Gospel with her six times, just trying to fish for what exactly is it that maybe we’re missing in this explanation to help you fully understand who Jesus is,” Ursuy shares.
During their sixth meeting, Ursuy dug a bit deeper to discover why this student was holding back. She was unsure how life changed after a commitment to Christ. Once Ursuy found this out, she said it was an easy answer.
She described a Christ committed life as one involved with a community, reading the Bible, investing in friendships and outreach. After committing to Christ, this same student lived into the answer Ursuy gave her. She began leading a Bible study in her sorority for three years.
“After the first semester of leading Bible study, I was gathering some information from her and realized she had led 16 other women to faith. And I was tearing up and freaking out about how amazing of a job she had done, I just asked her ‘how did this happen?’,” Ursuy recalls.
“She explained that she thought that’s what she’s supposed to do, is to just share the Gospel every single week she led Bible study. As long as there was somebody new in the room, she shared the Gospel, and as she shared the Gospel people responded.”
Find Your Place in The Story
Ursuy’s dream is to see a revival in college Greek communities. She wants to see every West Michigan fraternity and sorority impacted by the Gospel. Then, she hopes to see the same thing happen across the United States. However, to accomplish this dream, it is going to take the hands of the Church.
“We long for church partners to come alongside of us and we long for volunteers that are inspired by what we’re doing to come alongside of us and help us do things on campus,” Ursuy shares.
“But also, I would just invite everyone to sit at the table with sinners and tax collectors or whoever you perceive the sinners and tax collectors to be, because the reality is Jesus shared a meal with them, and it changed their lives.”
Pray specifically for Greek InterVarsity in West Michigan to get the church partnerships it needs to continue serving students. Ask God to raise up volunteers and financial partners who are passionate about seeing Greek students encounter Christ.
“We’re in a spot right now where the Lord is doing a new thing, and the Lord doing a new thing means that a lot of support is needed in every way,” Ursuy says.
Do you enjoy golfing? Do you want to support Greek InterVarsity?
If the answer is yes, Greek InterVarsity is holding a golfing event in West Michigan on September 15 at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.