I’m going to be honest, the first time I heard the term Chi Alpha two years ago I thought it was the name of a sorority. The air was quickly cleared as explained to be that it was The Height’s Disciple Now (D-Now). Classic mix up.
Two years later here we are, knee-deep in Chi Alpha preparation here in the Brick and are loving every second. The other day I was telling one of my friends from home about Chi Alpha planning and she interrupted me, asking “why it is called Chi Alpha?” I told her that I had no clue, that’s just what it’s always been called. She then said, “Don’t you think you should know why it’s called Chi Alpha, since you work there and all?” Touché, friend. That question has been bouncing around in my brain since that conversation so I did some asking around and finally figured out where Chi Alpha originated.
Let’s go back in time for a second…
The Height’s has been doing Disciple Now for around 30 years. For the first few years it was simply called D-Now weekend. Then in the ’90s a new youth pastor named Dave Rogers came aboard. He grew up at a First Baptist Church where their D-Now weekend was called Chi Alpha, which means “Christ first.” Dave’s home church saw the bigger picture and wanted Christ and the Gospel to be central in all they did, including their D-Now weekend, in hopes that it would instill that value in all of their members. Clearly, it had a lasting impact on Dave, so much so that he walked away desiring to implement the same Gospel-centered weekend in his ministry at The Heights. And the rest is history.
This history lesson has opened my eyes to see that Chi Alpha 2015 is apart of something much bigger than me, than THSM, than The Heights, than Dave Roger’s home church. It’s apart of God’s promise to Abram to bless all the nations through him (Genesis 12:3). It’s all about God continuing to be faithful to make wayward rebels His children through Jesus Christ so that they might glorify and praise Him with every fiber of their being, making Him known to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:19-20). We are begging the Lord to open up the eyes and hearts of students to help them understand who they are in Him and the purpose for which He has created them.
Here’s a testimonial from Marisa Mulloy, a THSM senior, about how the Lord has used Chi Alpha as a part of her story–
Chi Alpha is the event that has most significantly changed and effected my walk with the Lord. My sophomore year I walked into Chi Alpha hurting, completely unengaged, and bitter. I wanted nothing to do with the whole event because I knew people got emotional and things got personal, and I had no desire for my group and my group leader to know the things I was doing and the way I was living.Still, the Lord did his thing. The college girl that was supposed to be my counselor got the flu last minute and so Mallory Behenna got to fill in. For some reason, i felt a connection with her. We thought similarly, had a lot of the same interests, and I saw that significant parts of her past were currently my present. I opened up to her, told her a select part of my circumstances, and that was that. The weekend ended.I went home and in a moment of rest and being alone, I got it. The Good News became real to me, and I became very aware of things that needed to change despite how difficult it would be to change those things. I immediately called Mallory. Through the next several months of brokenness she walked beside me and was completely available, and even now two years later she remains that. She pushes me, challenges me, calls me on my crap, encourages me and plays a role in my life that I think every student needs.Chi Alpha gives opportunity for these relationships. I know the staff prays long and hard about which counselor gets assigned to which group, and I believe the Lord forms these groups specifically with purpose. It’s encouraging for junior high and high school students to be lead by some one who is not much older than us, as most of the leaders are only in college. The groups leaders have so much wisdom to offer, and the relationships that form have such potential to be truly Christ-centered and life changing.