Faith in Tuscaloosa: ChristianityBy Emma Cary | 02/14/2017 8:33pm
Most students walk through the Quad plugged into their cell phones, music blaring. Miller Fitts represents many Christians who walk through the Quad with Jesus on their mind and an overwhelming urge to spread His word to all the students at The University of Alabama.
For Christians on campus, their religion not only guides their actions but also the relationships they form with other people, too.
“Christianity is a very personal faith, but we also want to share it," said Fitts, a sophomore majoring in public relations. "I’m constantly on a mission, but not in a sense where I throw the Bible in their face, it’s more in a sense where I just try to live out my faith and allow people to see Jesus in the way I live and the way I love people.”
Fitts found Jesus on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic during her sophomore year of high school. Later that year her faith was solidified at a Young Life camp.
Young Life is an international nonprofit ministry that reaches out to students in middle schools and high schools all over the world. Their goal is to be present in the student’s lives in order to build relationships with them. After trust is built, the leaders speak openly about their relationship with the Lord.
“Young Life has always been a huge part of my life since high school,” Fitts said. "My Young Life leader from high school wanted to hang out with us and wanted to know us because she genuinely cared and wanted us to know who Jesus is.”
Now through the guidance of her Young Life leader, Fitts ministers to freshman girls at Tuscaloosa Academy as their Young Life leader.
“They are so incredible,” Fitts said. “I feel like they teach me more than I teach them.”
Josh Bice, a Young Life leader at American Christian Academy and a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, agrees that Young Life gives college leaders a unique opportunity to befriend high school and middle school students to spread the love of Jesus.
Bice said he visits ACA two or three times a week to have lunch with the freshman guys. He also attends their football and basketball games to spend more time with them.
“The whole purpose of everything we do is forming relationships with high schoolers, and just get to know them and pour into them,” Bice said. “We want to earn the right to be heard so we can present Jesus to them in a way that will be received well.”
Building relationships is an important part of Christianity, sharing experiences and learning from each other is a crucial part of growth.
“Because He loved us so much and gave His son for us, it’s important for us to love other people,” Fitts said.
Theodore Trost, professor in religious studies and New College, encourages students to get involved with people who share different religions and cultural practices to facilitate growth.
“You have a unique opportunity on a campus like this, where people come from not only all parts of the nation, but all parts of the world,” Trost said. “Talk to other people about what they believe, and you can learn a lot just from the conversations.”
Bice said he agrees that being a Christian on a college campus gives him incredible opportunities to minister that he would not otherwise have.
“My whole purpose for being on the earth as a believer is to continue to further the Kingdom and is to bring more people into the fold of Jesus,” Bice said.
Bice said the gospel is that humans are so broken and sinful that they are in desperate need of a Savior.
“To have the knowledge that the Creator of the universe, the one that with a single word, spoke everything into existence, cares enough about me to die for me in my rightful place in order to give me His righteousness, that’s life-changing,” Bice said.