Simply Follow

My first teaching experience came at Cal State Chico, an institution where I was surrounded by fellow Christians and many international students who presented consistent opportunities to invite students to our home and share our faith.

When God brought my wife and me to Cal Poly Pomona (CPP), I envisioned much the same, but bigger, given the larger size of the university and its setting in Los Angeles County.

However, the reality when I started at CPP was quite different. I struggled to connect to Christian faculty, and there were relatively few international students. The university is a Hispanic-serving institution and has made a commitment to first-generation students in California.

I tried to engage with Hispanic students but found many had a nominally religious background with no appetite to discuss God or related topics. Teaching cybersecurity also was not opening opportunities to share my faith.

I started to question whether the campus was to be my area of Christian service. My wife and I began to consider adoption/foster opportunities and other potential off-campus areas of service.

At a Sunday evening hymn sing (there are not enough of these anymore), my wife and I unknowingly sat next to another faculty member from CPP and his wife. Both the singing and the conversation were great, and by the end of the evening, I had learned of a faculty Bible study on campus and made plans to attend.

The Bible study offered opportunities for service. A Cru leader who attends the Bible study led the group through the book Sent by Heather and Ashley Holleman. The book reminded me not to try to do things for God, but rather to simply be obedient to do what God calls me to do.

Today, I am the faculty advisor to Cru and other Christian clubs, in addition to my day job on campus. I still do not often get to engage students in one-on-one faith sharing or discipleship, but I have developed an effective strategy, which I shamelessly copied from the book Sent.  

I pray over my list of students before the start of the term and then, as part of my introduction to the students, mention that I am a Christ-follower. This has opened doors for incredible conversations with students.

Also, I’ve been working with student leaders as they navigate evangelizing and discipling students on campus. God gave me a much greater ministry on campus than I could have imagined.

The two important lessons I learned were to find fellow Christian faculty on campus and find opportunities to interact with them. Secondly, to find a structured way to initiate faith conversations with students.

Ron Pike

Computer Information Systems

Cal Poly Pomona  

unnamed (3)