Chi-Alpha

Chi Alpha Campus Ministries (usually known as Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship on campus, but sometimes University Christian Fellowship or "Schoolname" Christian Fellowship, and occasionally Christians in Action) is an Assemblies of God USA[1] Christian ministry for college students. Despite its name, it is not a fraternity or sorority. Chi Alpha is often abbreviated XA.

Chi Alpha is under the United States Missions branch of the Assemblies of God and is open to students of all backgrounds.

Purpose

The mission of Chi Alpha is to reconcile students to Jesus Christ, thereby transforming the university, the marketplace, and the world. Chi Alphas mission motto is "Every student goes, every student gives, every student prays." To this end, the organization is committed to a fivefold philosophy: being a community of worship, prayer, fellowship, discipleship, and mission.


History

The Assemblies of God began a ministry to collegians in 1947 at the urging of J. Robert Ashcroft (father of John Ashcroft), which consisted of a newsletter sent to college students to encourage them in their faith.

It soon became apparent that a newsletter by itself was inadequate, and so in 1953 Dr. J. Calvin Holsinger[2] chartered the first Assemblies of God student group at Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State University) in Springfield, Missouri[3] where the Assemblies of God headquarters is located. The movement quickly spread to other campuses. For example, the first Chi Alpha to own property was the UC Berkeley chapter, which purchased a house next to campus in 1964.

The name Chi Alpha was inspired by the contemporary Assemblies of God youth movement, Christ's Ambassadors (a phrase in 2 Corinthians 5:20). The initials "CA" were changed to Greek initials "ΧΑ" in order to resemble the names of other college organizations.

Chi Alpha began its development internationally in the 1970s, establishing chapters in Europe under the name Students for Christ,[4] and also into Latin America under various names.

In 1977, the first ever Chi Alpha internship was launched at Western Washington University (WWU) in Bellingham, Washington by the WWU Chi Alpha campus director Brady Bobbink. Since its inception, the internship, known as Campus Ministers in Training (CMIT), has spread to many of the college campuses that Chi Alpha is involved with. CMIT is an internship in which students, after having graduated from a University, dedicate a year of their lives as missionaries to a college campus and receive intense training on how to be an effective missionary for the rest of their lives.

In 1978, Dennis Gaylor became national director of Chi Alpha, and continues to lead from the national level today.

There are now Chi Alpha ministries on over 300 and many more in sister organizations around the world.

Cultural mentions

  • The chapters at Georgetown University and the University of New Hampshire were highlighted in a 2003 New York Times article "Of Bart and Homer, and the Many Ways of Faith" - an article about their use of the Simpsons as a Bible study tool,[7] and in 1986 The New York Times mentioned the chapter at Columbia University as representative of a trend of growing Christian fellowships on campuses in the northeastern United States.[8]
  • Annie Dillard wrote a widely-reprinted essay, "Singing with the Fundamentalists",[9] about her experiences singing with a group of students from the Chi Alpha chapter at Western Washington University (a chapter which operates under the local name of Campus Christian Fellowship).

External links

  • Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, USA
  • Chi Alpha Missions
  • Chi Alpha Nicaragua

References

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