By Emma Beitzel, Contributor
Growing up in church, I knew the good and bad faces of Christianity. I loved pursuing my faith alongside others. I loved worshipping together, and learning from experts and having the opportunity to serve the the people in my community. It’s so easy for a church to preach love but not act on it, or offer community but keep you at an arm’s length, afraid to talk about what you’ve done or how you’re struggling. I had great success at home, finding a church that was genuine, loving and open, like the Jesus they follow. I know that’s not everyone’s story. When I came to Mason I was hungry to find a real community like this, where I could be honest and talk about spiritual things that were hard or confusing. The first place I came to was Cru, and that’s where I’ve been since.
As a freshman, I started going to Cru’s big meetings on Thursday evenings. It was a little awkward at first, but the upperclassmen accepted me immediately, pulling me in. I felt – and still feel – like they genuinely wanted to get to know me. I also joined one of Cru’s small groups, right off the bat. This was such a great place to meet people in a more intimate setting, talk about things that matter and learn what the Bible says about them. Even then, I had no idea how many opportunities there were for me at Cru. We have fun retreats and events, ministry teams, prayer meetings and contextualized ministries so students can learn what their faith means in the context of a community they’re already a part of (there are branches of Cru specific to ROTC students, the athletic community, and Latin-American, African-American or Asian-American students). As I got more involved, I realized those friendly upperclassmen weren’t an anomaly. People here want genuine community, and I’ve become a part of it.
Community is great, I realized, among people who believe the same thing. It’s so nice to feel at home somewhere. But what if you believe something else, or you don’t know what you believe? This is one of my favorite things about Cru — we want to talk with you. And we don’t want to fight about it. We want to have honest, open conversations. We want to make space for this at our big group meetings, in small groups, one-on-one, or in our Organic Discussion Groups, which are designed specifically as safe spaces where people of all backgrounds can talk about what they believe. Cru is unapologetic in what we believe: that the Bible is the word of a perfect God, who sent his son as a free gift to die and rise again from the grave so we, imperfect people, can have a relationship with Him. We don’t compromise this, but we know every person and every spiritual walk is different, and if you don’t believe what we do, we want you to feel at home here too, and have a place to ask questions.
As a freshman, I came to Cru to test out the waters. Now I’m living with some of my best friends I met there, leading a Bible study and serving alongside friends in events like Love Week, supporting refugees. I’m eager to be that person for someone else, who brought me into the best community I could have found in college. Come out on Thursday — I want to talk to you, and I want to hear your story.
Mason Cru meets at 8:00 in the Hub ballroom. See masoncru.org for information on small groups and other ways to get connected!