Arizona Students Get Real with realTALKs

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Students on two Arizona college campuses are holding conversations on cultural issues relevant to them through a newly relocated and expanding realTALK ministry. Run by pastor John Eisenring of Christ Community Christian Reformed Church in Chandler, the ministry was relocated from Texas last year.

Eisenring and student leaders set up in high traffic locations on the campuses of Mesa Community College and Arizona State University-West to engage students in outdoor forums.

Eisenring said they try to reach non-Christians by holding open forums on “hot button” cultural issues. “We start by focusing on these issues and then work toward presenting the Christian viewpoint at the end of the talk,” he said. Attendance at the forums have ranged from a handful of students to 40.

Cletus Milan, a communications student at ASU West, said he was very impressed by the level of student engagement. “I really liked how the Scriptures were incorporated,” he said. “It got me thinking about sin in my life, especially when Romans 3: 23 was shared.” He appreciated that the conversation “got straight to the point without pandering and did it in a way that felt very respectful and authentic.”

Christian Reformed Home Missions, Mission Southwest, Classis Arizona (CRC) and Classis Southwest (Reformed Church in America) all fund the outreach. Plans are underway to expand to more campuses and train more campus ministry leaders, within the next year. 

“We hope that realTALK will always be a powerful catalyst on colleges and universities,” Eisenring said. “Our desire is to plant seeds concerning our faith. We may not get the most words, but we get the last word.”

About the Author

Shashi DeHaan is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes Arizona and Red Mesa.