Campus Crusade for Christ Shares Common Beliefs
“We are a caring community, passionate about connecting others to Jesus Christ,” said junior, Shaina Tinsley from Mays Landing, NJ, Secretary of the on-campus organization, Cru.
Cru is part of an international Christian organization, on campuses in 191 countries. The abbreviation Cru comes from the word crusade in the organizations official title, Campus Crusade for Christ.
At the University, Cru is a local chapter of the larger organization also referred Cru. Their local chapter is connected to 33 other local chapters in New Jersey.
“I love that Cru is not just a Christian club on campus,” said general member, Karen Waters from Edison, NJ. “I love that we exist not only to help those that want to grow in their Christian faith, but also help to spur on various conversations around campus to those who aren’t of the Christian faith.”
According to Tinsley, Cru has two purposes: to help Christians grow in their faith, and to inform those who want to know more about who Jesus is, or who want to come and share what they believe.
“We choose to accept anyone who walks though those doors and into our ministry,” said Tinsley. “It’s that love and sense of kinship that’s helped me countless times in my college experience.”
Often considered as a small club, Cru has around 15 members who attend the meetings each week. At the meetings they invite people to come and learn about Christianity and God. Each week, they read different parts of the bible and have discussions about the readings.
“It’s a time where we can come together as Christians to talk about our common beliefs in Jesus,” said Tinsley. “It’s also welcomed for those who don’t believe, or are curious about Jesus, to come and talk about it. We help people on our spiritual journey.”
Advised by Dr. Flaming, the club also has a staff member of Cru come in and help the local chapter, since they are a part of a larger international organization.
Just like most of the other clubs on campus, each of the members of Cru has responsibilities as well. “Our main responsibilities as a group is to grow together in our spiritual understanding of following Jesus whether we’re followed or not,” said Tinsley.
“There are also some who have the responsibility of preparing which passage they will be discussing that week, and some are responsible for leading worship and singing. The Secretary (Tinsley) leads the weekly smaller group bible studies with the women.
They also have a President, William Brucella and a Vice President, Cyrus Siganporia who arrange getting tables and reserving rooms for their meetings. They also lead the weekly smaller group bible studies for the men.
“Cru has challenged me in many ways,” said Brucella. “Mainly growing closer to God and making Him part of my everyday life.”
The general meetings for Cru are held on Thursdays at 8:00 pm on the second floor of the Student Center in room 202C or 202B. They also meet in smaller groups separating the women and the men.
The women usually meet on Wednesdays at 8:00 pm and the men meet on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm in the Student Center. They also have weekly prayer meetings on Mondays between 11:00 pm and 12:00 pm.
“We are a Christian group that holds our beliefs,” said Tinsley. “Still, anyone is welcomed to join us if they are curious of Christianity and want to learn more about God. We welcome people who don’t believe what we believe in.”
As part of Cru, members often get to go off-campus to interact with others with the same Christian beliefs.
Over Spring Break, three Cru members, Brucella, Siganporia, and Andrew Bachmann went to an event called Big Break, held in Panama City Beach, Florida. There they gathered with about 1,000 other college students at the conference to learn and experience sharing what they believe.
Bachman, a senior and international business and Spanish major was one of the three Cru students to go on the trip to Florida. He explained how he has always known about Cru but has just recently gotten involved this past fall. “Last year I became distanced from God,” said Bachman. “I wasted a lot of time doing my own thing, drinking and partying…not that there is anything wrong with having fun but certain things were having negative effects in my relationships and schoolwork.”
Bachman went on to say how he likes that Cru is more than a club that simply meets on campus once a week, there is a lot of sharing and community.
“I wouldn’t think of it as a religious organization, but more of a family,” he said. “CRU has helped me grow up. I’m still far from perfect, but thanks to God, I’m becoming more responsible.”
Also, every last Friday of the month, the members go on Jersey Cru. There is where every Cru ministry in New Jersey gets together on Rutgers campus in New Brunswick for a night of fellowship, praise and worship and to hear the word from a member of the Cru staff.
“I like that Cru is more than just a club,” said Brucella. “We are focused on showing the love of Christ to all people on campus as well as growing in our faith.”
The members of Cru encourage people to join and are always open to new members. When involved with Cru, members get the chance to do mission trips, sharing their faith on summer projects, yearlong stints, or spend spring break just about anywhere in the world.
They have relationships with neighboring churches in the West Long Branch area and they get members that find out about them through, or are referred to them through churches.
“People should be a part of Cru because it is truly amazing,” said Tinsley. “It changes people’s lives for the better. If anyone out there is searching for that last piece of the puzzle to fit in their life, or are considering trying a religion, or just want to know more about God, or just want to share their views on faith should come to Cru. There’s no consequence.”
PHOTO COURTESY of Will Brucella