He wasn't ready for college – spiritually

  • by Susie Richardson
Photo courtesy Ryan Manske.

Despite his acceptance (and scholarship) from America’s oldest technological research university after graduating high school with honors, Ryan Manske felt he needed more.

“I knew I wasn't where I wanted to be spiritually. I saw college as a spiritually challenging place and I wanted to be prepared for that.”

Ryan asked and was granted a deferment by Rensselaer Polytechnic University (RPI) so he could get better grounded in his faith at a Kansas City Bible School.

It was a spiritually stronger Ryan Manske who showed up at RPI a year later. According to RPI Cru staff Rich Sarnacki, “Ryan quickly jumped into community and discipleship, sharing his faith on campus.”

Ryan stumbled upon Cru during welcome week last year, surprised by how familiar it felt to worship God with people he didn’t yet know.

“The Cru leaders were focused, intentional and godly. I knew I wanted to be part of this community.”

Though Cru staff are restricted from many campus venues, the doors of the campus are wide open to a student. Hanging out with classmates in dorms and classrooms, Ryan hears their hopes and disappointments, steering those who are open toward life in Christ.

“RPI students hyper-focus on getting internships, even trying to graduate in three years instead of four, but they are still very interested in community,”  said Ryan.

Last year Ryan dove into all Cru had to offer: Fall Retreat, Winter Conference … even taking a spring break vision trip to East Asia, and then returning there for a summer mission, becoming the first RPI student to do so. Despite these “extra-curriculars,” Ryan remains a serious student.

A computer enthusiast (at age 15 Ryan convinced his parents to buy parts so he could build his own computer), Ryan chose RPI as the means to his career goal of designing software, hopefully for a “really cool company!”

Now a sophomore, Ryan leads Cru’s prayer meetings; he also takes what he’s learning from Rich and teaches it to other RPI students each week in Bible study.

“As part of Cru, I’ve discovered that community is the context for Christian growth and discipleship is the force driving it.  I’ve shifted from wanting to be served to wanting to serve others.”


Originally posted on Cru Northeast. Used with permission.