NOTE: This is the sixth interview in a series entitled An ‘Entrusted’ Life. This series serves to introduce you to Christians who display faithful stewardship amid an entitlement culture (You can find our other interviews featuring authors like Jaquelle Crowe and Tessa Emily Hall as well as musicians Jonathan and Emily Martin here.) In this sixth interview, we welcome Chrissy Colgrove. Chrissy is in her fourth year on staff with Campus Outreach (CO) at IUPUI in Indianapolis, where she serves as the Women’s Coordinator. The ministry of Campus Outreach Indianapolis is a college campus ministry based out of Midtown Church in Indianapolis, Indiana and is driven by a mission to “Glorify God by Building Laborers on the Campus for the Lost World”. Chrissy works full-time on IUPUI’s campus sharing the Gospel with students who do not know Christ as well as discipling believers and equipping Christian college students to share their faith.
Chrissy, thank you for participating in this interview. For starters, would you share your testimony of how you came to faith in Christ? Who and what did God use in your life to point you to Christ?
Chrissy: Of course! I’m excited for the opportunity to share. I grew up in Northwest Indiana attending a Catholic church. To be honest, I didn’t have much spiritual interest growing up. Though my parents told me God existed, I struggled to reconcile how God could exist with the state of the world around me. So, I lived as if He didn’t exist and really went after what the world tells us will make us happy—“the American Dream”. I was so sure if I excelled in my studies, was liked by others, sought to be in the best in everything I did—I would find purpose and be happy. I came into college with this mindset, adding the “college experience” as necessary for my fulfillment.
It didn’t take long, maybe a semester, for me to realize that even though I was doing all the things I thought would bring purpose and joy, there was an undeniable gap within me. At the same time I was having these thoughts, I “randomly” reconnected with a young girl, Amanda, I met at the beginning of the school year. She was a student involved with the ministry of Campus Outreach and claimed to have a faith in Jesus that changed her life and gave her purpose. I mostly mocked her and couldn’t understand how you could have a relationship with Jesus…let alone how it would change you, at least not until our first Bible study. We read an article together that used Scripture to break down the Gospel—that God sent His only Son to live a perfect life, die an undeserved death on the cross and rise to conquer sin. I’d heard it before, but for the first time, I HEARD it. The Gospel was for me. Jesus’s death on the cross was the payment made for what my sin required.
Realizing this, I was desperate to know that Jesus, the one that would die for me when I knew I had been so far from living for Him. I went back to my dorm that night and prayed what I believe was my first authentic prayer. I asked God to forgive me for living my life apart from Him and begged for Jesus’s perfect record in place of my own. After that, I was never the same. God started slowly changing my desires. The greatest change, though, was the passion I developed for telling other people about Jesus. You couldn’t shut me up about Him. Ultimately, when it came time to graduate college, I knew I wanted to invest the next season of my life into spreading the Gospel—that’s how I ended up working full-time with Campus Outreach.
How would you describe the ministry of Campus Outreach to someone who is unfamiliar with this great gospel work?
Chrissy: The vision of Campus Outreach is to “build laborers on the campus for the lost world.” Essentially, we share the Gospel on the college campus with students who do not already know Jesus, help establish young believers in their faith by teaching them how to study their Bibles, pray, etc., equip students to share their faith with others, and then send them out all over the world equipped with the Gospel. I really do believe, because college students are the most freed up to make radical decisions for the Gospel, that God will use them to reach the world. Our ministry has had around 1,700 professions of faith in the last 15 years, and more people than I can name are currently serving overseas or in positions of influence in the states, as teachers, police officers, nurses, and pastors to name a few. It’s pretty incredible how the Lord has been using the ministry!
As you share in your testimony, God used the ministry of Campus Outreach to draw you to Himself. How is He now using you in the ministry of Campus Outreach?
Chrissy: When I came on staff with Campus Outreach, I had very low expectations for how God would use me. I thought of Elisabeth Elliot, Helen Roseveare, and Darlene Deibler Rose. These were amazing godly women, and I felt my faith was so small in comparison to theirs. Now, when I think about what God has done in spite of my small faith, my jaw drops! God really can use anyone, even someone young in their faith, like me, to lead people to Himself. God has allowed me the privilege of leading many women to Himself, and then getting to help and see those women lead other women to Christ. I have an entire spiritual family. I’m a spiritual great-grandma lol! Just recently, two of the girls I discipled graduated. One moved to innercity Detroit to help with a church plant and the other is doing full-time missions overseas. I often say I’m seeing someone in ministry’s “dream” play out. Getting to see someone you’ve led to Jesus, lead someone else to Jesus, who then leads someone else…getting to see your spiritual babies exceed you in their faith and give up everything to leave the country so others can hear the Gospel…I mean there is just nothing more beautiful than that.
What is your favorite aspect about serving with Campus Outreach?
Chrissy: Gosh, there are so many!! Aside from what I mentioned before about the beauty of leading people to Christ, I think my favorite part is getting to be a spiritual mom/big sister to so many young women. College on its own can be really hard and really lonely, but it’s especially hard if you’re trying to walk with Jesus in the midst of that. I love that I get to be there for young believers as they navigate life on their own for the first time. It made such a difference for me in college, and it still does, to have older women help me think through tough decisions in light of God’s Word. I’m constantly amazed that I get to work every day with a group of women who want to live their lives in a radical way for the Gospel wherever that are. It’s truly meaningful for me to get to help shoulder some of the burdens of the women in our ministry. They are part of my family and I cherish them!
The vision of Campus Outreach is “Glorifying God by Building Laborers on the Campus for the Lost World”. This happens in discipling relationships as leaders reach, build, equip, and mobilize college students for Jesus Christ. In your three years with Campus Outreach, what relationship first comes to mind as fulfilling the vision of Campus Outreach?
Chrissy: I’ll share one of the most recent. Last Fall, during the first week of campus, I went around the dorms recruiting girls to play in a massive game of Capture the Flag. I met a girl named Grace, who I later found out had virtually no spiritual background, and invited her to come play with us. We connected and over the next few months built a deep friendship. I spent countless hours with her, in her dorm room, the cafeteria, and local coffee shops, trusting that God would use our time together to lead Grace to Himself. After many Gospel conversations, Grace made the decision to attend our Spring Conference in Brown County. On the first night of the conference, she realized her need for Jesus and asked Him to be Lord and Savior of her life. Directly after, she committed to spend ten weeks at the Orlando Project to learn how to share her new faith with others. Now, she’s a little nugget in her faith, but she is the epitome of a new creation. She makes decisions that help her grow in her walk with Jesus. She wants to tell everyone about Him. She’s shared the Gospel with her family and has even started a Bible study with her old college roommate (who isn’t a Christian). I mean, this is a 19-year-old girl, living in a way few are on the college campus. I can only imagine in four years who will know Jesus because of her, where He will send her, and how He will impact the world through her.
Right or wrong, today’s college students are sometimes portrayed as the entitled generation. Yet, as followers of Christ, the biblical truth is we are not our own but belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). How does the gospel impact and encourage young people to live as faithful stewards in an entitled culture?
Chrissy: Working on the college campus, I feel for them. It really is a struggle. A majority of college students look to drugs, excessive drinking, lust, materialism, perfectionism, their own morality—you name it—as their main source of joy and pleasure. There is an intense pressure to fit into that mold and when you don’t, you stand out like a sore thumb. Walking with Jesus on campus, and you could honestly argue this is true no matter your season, is like trying to walk up a downward stream. There is so much temptation to spend money you don’t have to wear the best clothes, to live this wild college life. It seems like it would be easier to just give up and go down the stream with everyone else.
For Christians though, Jesus didn’t promise us that life would or should be easy. That’s one of the main issues with our generation, myself included. We want ease and comfort. We get really upset when we realize walking with Jesus is anything but easy and comfortable! It’s hard to fight our sin. It’s hard to live differently than a majority of your peers, but when we fix our eyes on Jesus, when we see His incredible sacrifice on the cross, and when we recognize His deep, deep love for us, there is no question of if he is worthy of everything. When we look at the cross, we see that Jesus is better than anything this world could ever offer. One of my favorite verses comes from Psalm 84:11 – “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” I have to challenge myself on this often, Do I believe that God is withholding something good from me because I don’t have _____? Do I believe He is a good Father who works all things for my good and His glory? What does His Word say? I hope other young people get in the rhythm of asking themselves this as well and that, in the end, it brings them encouragement as they find that Jesus is better than anything else in this world.
Chrissy, as a prayer and financial supporter, I (Theron) am grateful for the ministry of Campus Outreach and the heart you have in glorifying God by building laborers on the campus for the lost world. If someone else would like to prayerfully or financially support you, how could they get in touch with you or give to your ministry?
Chrissy: The best way would be to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I can send along giving instructions or add them to my email updates so they can be praying. I love when people reach out to me personally because then I can be praying for them as well! But if they’d rather, they could also visit our website: www.coindy.org/give and designate their giving funds to my ministry.