Every Thursday night, about one hundred people gather in the Engineering building lecture hall. These people are a part of Cru, a Christian organization that operates on college campuses across the United States. Students work with a Cru staff member to organize weekly meetings, outreach opportunities and various retreats.
Cru has three main aspects: its mission, its vision and its values. Its mission is to “win, build and send Christ-centered multiplying disciples who launch spiritual movements.” Its vision is to expand the number of Cru chapters so that everyone knows someone who follows Jesus. Its core values are faith, growth and fruitfulness.
The vision of UMBC Cru is to impart the love of the gospel to the whole campus and to foster a community for Christians. Community is a critical aspect of UMBC Cru. The group organizes many different events to reach the campus and promote relationships within Cru.
Cru hosts a total of five different Bible studies: there are groups for male freshmen, female freshmen, male upperclassmen and female upperclassmen. There is also a co-ed bible study for commuters and students who can’t attend the other bible studies.
Cru hosts weekly and semesterly outreach events. “E-hour” is one event Cru holds weekly. In “E-hour,” Cru students have conversations with other students in the campus community. Cru students also assist the Baltimore Community ToolBank on a weekly basis.
Sophomore Mechanical Engineering major Tyler Peigh has volunteered at the ToolBank several times.
“Our whole goal is to spread Jesus,” says Peigh. “We don’t have to evangelize to show Jesus. You can show Jesus through [your] actions.” ToolBank is a way for Cru to spread its message without the explicit evangelism that some people find objectionable.
The most consistent part of Cru is its weekly meetings. Senior computer science major Sami Turskey is the president of Cru. When asked about the weekly meetings, Turskey said, “it’s a good dedicated time to worship in a group and just be in the community of other Christians.”
Cru puts a large emphasis on community and relationships.“Cru is a community more focused on [the] relationship we each have with Jesus and not the rules and regulations that people think come with Christianity,” says Terskey.
This year a record-breaking 128 students attended the first Cru meeting. Cru has had consistently over 100 students at its weekly meetings since then. Cru staff member Carlos Urtecho helps keep UMBC Cru running, and promotes member growth. “The most important part is that we’re very welcoming and very inviting to the UMBC campus community,” says Urtecho. “We really want Cru to be a place where everyone is welcome no matter where you’re at in your spiritual journey.”