Comparing Campus Christian Ministries


UNI is teeming with organizations for students to get involved in outside of classes, and many have already found their place within various campus ministries right here on campus.

A few of these groups that have a particular amount of presence on campus include BASIC, The Salt Company, The Navigators, TheRiver and Chi Alpha.

There are almost 800 student members of these five ministries alone, according to the student directory.

BASIC stands for Brothers and Sisters in Christ. It is a college-aged worship community that aims to unite people on campus and invite them to join in the work of Jesus Christ. As of May 2016, BASIC reported they had 475 active members.

One of their leaders, sophomore performing arts management major Zoe Nanke, said the sense of community it sold her on BASIC.

“I transferred from the University of Iowa halfway through my freshman year, which meant I was worried about making friends,” Nanke said. “Through BASIC I have found some of my best friends and have had amazing opportunities to grow as an individual, as well as a child of God.”

According to Nanke, the minimum time commitment BASIC requires are weekly meetings, which are held Thursday nights at 8 p.m. in Lang Hall Auditorium. They are partnered with Orchard Hill Church and Nazareth Lutheran Church, which both also hold Sunday morning services that some BASIC members choose to attend. BASIC also has other opportunities to get involved within the organization like holding leadership positions and going on mission trips to places like Jamaica and Haiti.

Another popular organization on campus is The Navigators, or commonly known as “Navs.” The Navs’ beliefs are centered around one core story: the Gospel.

They believe that Jesus is the son of God and died for our sins. Because of what Jesus did for them, the Navs desire to make Christ known, they say.
In December of last year, the Navs reported they had 23 active members.

One of their leaders is senior elementary education major, Haley Meister. According to Meister, the Navs hold two meetings every week, Nav Night and Freshmen Connection. Nav Night is their weekly meeting for all members, held in Seerley Hall on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. These meetings are a place where everyone comes together to worship the Lord and hear a Biblical message, according to Meister.

Their Freshmen Connection meeting is also once a week on Tuesdays in the University Room at 8 p.m.; this is an opportunity for freshmen to build friendships with others involved in Navs and study the Bible in smaller groups.

“I joined Navs originally because of its solid foundation and mission,” Meister said. “As I began to get involved in Navs as a freshman, I quickly saw that it was a ministry that highly valued the Word of God. I wasn’t able to sit in either my Bible study or Nav night without being drawn to think deeply about the Bible.”

Another Christian destination students may choose to pursue is within the Salt Company, which reported 65 members in August 2016. Senior accounting and financial management double major Mitch Van Es is one of the leaders of the Salt Company and explained how the SALT Company believes that they should put their faith in Jesus and that he died for our sins and rose from the grave to conquer death.

“The SALT Company’s mission is to make disciples who know and love Jesus,” Van Es said. “SALT does this by teaching from the Bible and doing connection groups and Bible studies each week.”

The SALT Company holds weekly meetings every Thursday where students congregate and discuss events, information and of course their beliefs. They hold various events, including retreats and conferences throughout the year.

Van Es expressed his love for all the close friends he’s made through the SALT Company that challenge him in his faith and keep him accountable.

TheRiver, a ministry made up of 140 members as of September 2015, is a community seeking to learn about Christ and strive to include others in their lives and bless their campus and city according to members. The group is considered a denominational Christian Ministry.

According to senior performing arts management major Emma Swensen, TheRiver holds weekly meetings Tuesdays at 9 p.m. in the Union, as well as Bible studies and small group meetings. They also hold retreats, bonfire events and other casual hang outs.

Swensen said theRiver is Bible-centered, and embodies a unique community that genuinely cares for each other.

“I encourage anyone to come and give theRiver a try if they are even considering it,” Swensen said. “There’s no pressure, but we would love to get to know each person on campus.”
The last group is a campus ministry called Chi Alpha, with a reported 60 members as of April 2016. Junior music education major Daniel Benson shared that Chi Alpha’s beliefs are the Bible is the authoritative word of God and their guide for life. They also believe in the Holy Trinity, that Jesus Christ, out of his great love for us, “died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead so that anyone who puts their faith in him will inherit eternal life in heaven.”

They also believe God still moves powerfully today through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Besides holding weekly services at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Chi Alpha holds events like brotherhoods and sisterhoods, which are essentially service nights geared towards making connections with other members, a special service and worship night called Heaven Meets Earth, game nights and small student-led worships.

“We just strive to invite those that we see around campus, in our classes, and in our dorms into an environment that is safe, caring, and full of community,” Benson said. “An environment where we can show the students on this campus the love that Jesus Christ has for each and every individual, no matter who you are.”

Although there are several different Christian ministries speckled all around campus, all the organizations wear their sense of community proudly and seem to be open to welcoming new members into their groups.

A common thread runs through each Christian ministry – a deep love for God and the community.