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Campus Mission Field

Studying at Moody and serving in Cru PCM prepared Luke Wilson to become a full-time missionary sharing Christ with college students
  • Audrey Fohr
  • June 1, 2024

Moody Bible Institute student Luke Wilson

 

With students hailing from backgrounds in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and atheism, the University of Illinois in Chicago is one of the most diverse college campuses in the Midwest. To Luke Wilson ‘24, a founding leader of the Cru Practical Christian Ministry (PCM) at Moody Bible Institute, UIC’s diversity presents the perfect opportunity to share the gospel.

“It's hard for me to know there are so many young people just a couple miles away from Moody that have never heard the gospel,” Luke says. “I believe decisions people make in college do change their lives.”

‘I need to live for a purpose’

Although Luke grew up surrounded by campus ministry, with both of his parents serving full time in Cru, he didn’t surrender his life to Christ until his senior year of high school. “A string of events ended with me deciding I need to live for a purpose,” Luke says. “I decided that if my purpose was not to live for and follow Christ, then it was all meaningless anyway.”

Following this decision, Luke began studying youth ministry at Moody. Though he wasn’t initially planning to follow in his parents’ footsteps, a summer internship with Cru helped guide him to pursue student ministry as a career.

The first step was establishing a Cru student PCM at Moody, which he helped form in 2021. The Cru PCM focuses on reaching the surrounding secular schools by partnering with their Cru groups to spread the gospel.

“Getting Moody students to do ministry is our goal,” Luke shares. “Sometimes a student will text and say, ‘I can't come to Cru because I have to study tonight.’ What do you have to study that is more important than what you'd learn sharing your faith with Cru?”

Real-world training

Besides their weekly meetings on the campuses of UIC and ITT (Illinois Institute of Technology), Cru also holds monthly training nights for Moody students to learn more about sharing their faith.

“They get trained in evangelism in our PCM first and then go out with other students that have experience in evangelism to shadow them,” Luke explains. “Each training shows how to use a different tool. You also learn how to witness to Muslims, atheists, and others. You learn how to connect and listen and build relationships . . . to have conversations that create friendship.”

Luke especially values the relational aspect of Cru. “Campus ministry is just the ministry that I find myself relating to and loving people best,” he explains. “We're here to listen and build relationships. If I'm having a conversation with someone, I ask questions that point them toward the truth.”

Relational evangelism

These conversations sometimes go nowhere, but other discussions may spark an important relationship that connects these students to the gospel.

“I never received any texts from students I witnessed to my first year,” Luke says. “Now I receive texts from UIC students weekly. I know seven or eight different UIC students who I text with regularly.”

One of these friendships is with a Muslim student Luke met at UIC in 2023. “We talked for 90 minutes. Now we text and hang out,” Luke says. “We hung out three times before we had a spiritual conversation. I asked him what he thought about Jesus, and he said he isn't sure. He's in a stage where I think he may become a Christian, so I gave him a book called Seeking Religion, Finding Jesus.”

The power of prayer

With patience and sincere love, Luke hopes to share the truth of the gospel with every student he comes in contact with. “I’m praying as I'm talking,” Luke says. “I rely on the Holy Spirit to guide my conversations and my responses.”

As an example, Luke was speaking with four students at UIC and hadn’t figured out how to bring the gospel into their interaction. “I prayed during the conversation, and the Lord answered my prayer,” he says. “One of the people we were talking to mentioned the gospel and another asked what the gospel was all about. This was before I had done anything but ask a couple baseline questions.”

Moody’s essential role

Luke’s education at Moody has played an integral part in preparing him for Cru. “My classes at Moody have helped strengthen my understanding of God’s Word and fueled my passion for the gospel and my desire to share it with others,” Luke says. “It helped me know how to answer questions and objections biblically but also out of love.”

Luke graduated with a BA in Youth Ministry from Moody in January 2024 and will serve as a full-time missionary with Cru starting in August at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. His fiancé, Kaitlynn, is also a Cru PCM leader at Moody.

“Because he has grown up around Cru, he’s seen how it shaped him as a person and he wanted to honor the Lord by working full time at Ball State,” Kaitlynn says. “We look forward to putting what we have learned at Moody into action. Our plans are God's plans, so wherever He wants us we will go.”

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About the Author

  • Audrey Fohr