By Hope Mayes
The name Chi Alpha comes from the term “Christou Apostloi” found in 2 Corinthians 5:20, and reads “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” The goal of Chia Alpha ministries across America is to be ambassadors for Christ on secular college campuses by investing into students and individuals in hopes of making disciples who make disciples who therefore repeat this process in places both near and across the globe.
One ambassador for Christ and for Chi Alpha, Nick Hester, has committed this season of his life to leading as a campus missionary at Texas Tech Chi Alpha. A product of Chi Alpha himself, Hester became a Christ-follower during his time in Chi Alpha after experiencing the genuine love from his peers and leaders in the ministry. As a young student, the consistent friendship and the overflow of love he experienced opened his eyes to the fierce pursuit God had on his life. Hester and his team at West Texas Chi Alpha strive to be the same hope and light to students in their college community.
Anyone who has witnessed the work of Chi Alpha students in West Texas knows that God is moving powerfully through the students and leaders; and discipleship is at the heart of this movement. Nick and the West Texas Chi Alpha leadership team believe the Lord is preparing to reap a harvest in rural Texas by means of the young, passionate students in their Chi Alpha ministry that are being trained on how to make reproduce disciples. Nick introduced some of West Teas Chi Alpha students and they spoke to some of their current goals, “As Chi Alpha, we want to grow disciples who make disciples… And because the majority of our students are coming [to this college] to get a degree and move somewhere else, we want to instill in them a burden for the church and a desire to serve the church wherever they end up for their vocation.” A question arose amongst the leadership of Chi Alpha in TX: What if, after graduation, more of these students started finding jobs in small, unlikely places rather than the places where they might find the highest paying positions?
Over the course of the last two years, Chi Alpha has formulated a God-driven, rural-centered vision based off this question. Nick Hester described this vision in detail, “We are now asking [the students we disciple] if they would pray and seek the Lord about where they should go after college, and then go find a job. Not just be led where the money takes them or where the job market is…” Instead of going to a large city with the goal of making money, they ask, “would you be willing to go to a town, population 1,000, in West Texas where you won’t make as much money, but you could really effect change in that community?” This is the first thing they ask students to pray about.
The second thing they ask students to pray about is going together, because it is crucial to building up the church in the local town. Once students move to the area and begin working, they can join their local church, build community and serve. Some students may be passionate about leading the church or even planting a church. In whatever they do, Nick Hester wants their mission to be discipleship focused; replicating the model and mission of Chi Alpha. Nick stated, “Their goal is to live missionally and say, we are going to work and honor Jesus in our work, but were also here to make disciples.” For many students, it is not an easy vision to say yes to. But with every yes there is a greater opportunity for more rural communities in Texas to be served and won for Jesus.
One local pastor of an Assembly of God church in the area, Pastor John Murdoch, makes it part of his mission to invest in the lives of these students. He has also made it a part of his passion to assist these ambassadors for Christ in taking their vocations from the urban to the rural settings.
Pastor John and Nick Hester have joined together to pray for this vision to take hold in their ministries in hope of seeing the heart of Jesus spread throughout every community in West Texas. They have already seen some incredible testimonies come from the heart of the West Texas Chi Alpha program. Nick Hester and Pastor John testify to some of these students’ stories below.
Chasmin came to Texas Technical University looking for a place to spend her years of college drinking and partying. The very first night she arrived on campus, the Lubbock Chi Alpha team helped students move into their dorms. After meeting and befriending a young lady from Chi Alpha, her heart became open to attending the young adult’s small group at Christian Life’s church. Soon, Chasmin accepted Jesus as Lord of her life and was filled with the Holy Spirit. After graduating from Texas Tech with her fiancée in December of 2019, they began preparing for their next step; becoming missionaries to the Netherlands.
To see fruit borne from the discipleship process takes time. It took almost four years of discipleship for Chasmin to reach her current position. However, the time and dedication that Chi Alpha and Pastor Murdoch put into this one student’s life will bear fruit for decades to come.
A second example of Chi Alpha’s impact is told through the testimony of one couple.
Another recently married couple did not to come to Texas Tech University intending to find a relationship with Jesus. However, through the opportunities Chi Alpha presented the couple made the choice to accept Jesus as their Savior and grow in Christ. They left school intending on following in Pastor John Murdoch’s steps and becoming one of the first rural church planters in their community.
Andrew was raised in a nominal Christian family that did not attend regularly. He went about life with just a basic knowledge of God. After being pulled into the party life, he and a group of his friends got connected to Chi Alpha and one of their small groups. It was not long after hearing the gospel that Andrew surrendered his life to Jesus and was all in to leading a life for Christ. However, as for Andrew’s friends, once they started to realize that walking with Jesus comes with a cost, they walked away because they thought the cost was too high. Andrew stuck around and is now is considering a life dedicated to intercultural missions.
These stories would not have been possible if not for the willing leadership and initiative of West Texas Chi Alpha. And the future is getting brighter… Within the next few years, and with the help of Pastor John Murdoch, Chi Alpha plans to open a new branch of their ministry focused around church planting in rural areas. With this new emphasis on sending out young, Spirit-filled, vocational workers, there is much excitement for the future of rural places around West Texas.
Chi Alpha is doing incredible things to advance the kingdom of God. While the future Church can be excited that Bible Colleges are training up students in God-centered realms, Chi Alpha shows that there is something so powerful about students being discipled and discipling in a secular space. In places like West Texas, students are challenged to be bold, counter-cultural ambassadors for Christ. As a result of this growth in Texas, students are writing the prologue to many testimonies told by “forgotten towns” all around the America and the entire globe.
If you are interested in reaching out to or being a part of a West Texas Chi Alpha Ministry team, you can email Nick Hester linked below.
Email Nick Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org