Tuesday, April 21, 2009


As college classes begin to wind down for the school year, it's natural for us to reflect back upon our first year in Lynchburg & what life is like NOW verses what it WAS in Lubbock. I (Amy) thought I'd give you guys a little look at some general observations we've noticed over the first year here between students we saw at Texas Tech & those we have seen thus far at Liberty. (our RUF ministry here is for all 5 universities here in Lynchburg, but with Liberty being the largest & perhaps the most unique, I'll focus my observations there...)

I'm refraining from casting judgments, as each school has positives and negatives. These observations are certainly broad-sweeping generalizations, and obviously don't apply to every student. Just thought it might help you guys get a glimpse of how we are trying to take RUF's philosophy of "FIXED THEOLOGY & FLEXIBLE METHODOLOGY" into a new situation. We have a long-term focus here, and we know that it will take us several years before we can REALLY start to know & understand this new campus/demographic. (even though Marc went to Liberty himself. Plus, since demographics change by the minute you can never really understand them!) So right or wrong, here's a few of our observations from the past year...
  • Observation #1: At Texas Tech, almost EVERY student you see walking between classes is guaranteed to be talking/ texting on their cell phone or listening to their I-pod. Guaranteed. On my visit to Liberty's campus today, I didn't see ONE. Everyone I passed in the hallway seemed to be "present," (if that makes sense) even if they were walking by themselves.
  • Observation #2: At Texas Tech, it was common to see students wearing pajama pants & workout clothes to class. Most students didn't care about doing their hair for class (and some didn't even shower for that matter!) :) At Liberty, it is apparent that students (both guys and girls) work VERY hard on their outward appearance, many times resembling a J. Crew catalog model.
  • Observation #3: At Texas Tech, if a Christian student said an occasional curse word or saw a rated R movie, (for example) that person's faith was not questioned and they were not given reprimands by the R.A.'s in their dorm. At Liberty, if a Christian were to say a curse word in a group setting, you would be more likely to hear an audible gasp.
  • Observation #4: At Texas Tech, students came mostly from Texas. Their focus was to enjoy their time in Lubbock, but upon graduation, get out of there as quickly as they could & move to the big cities: Austin, Houston, or Dallas. At Liberty, students literally come from all over the world. We have students in our ministry from California, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, China, etc. A large portion of them enjoy their time in Lynchburg so much that, upon graduation, there's nowhere else they'd rather be than in Lynchburg, so Lynchburg has a much higher population of local graduates than did Lubbock.
  • Observation #5: At Texas Tech, everyone was a "Christian." (I use the quotation marks because many times it was only a profession out of their mouth) Now, that didn't mean you went to church every week. And on the weekend, alot of the "Christians" would look and act surprisingly like the non-Christians. :) Get my drift? At Liberty, everyone is also a "Christian." And all students are required to attend a convocation/chapel 3x a week, encouraged to be involved in weekly prayer groups on their hall, attend "Campus Church" with thousands of Liberty students on Sunday morning, etc. It is not unfeasible that a Liberty student would attend more than 10 Bible study/worship services in ONE WEEK. Is it surprising to you than even with all of that, many of the "Christians," especially when they move off of campus or after graduation, live & act like the non-Christians?
  • Observation #6: At Texas Tech, students came from broken homes. They weren't embarrassed to tell you that their parents were divorced, or that things back home were incredibly difficult. It was okay and normal to have struggles in your life. At Liberty, many students ALSO come from broken homes, but they don't feel comfortable (for many reasons) with talking about the brokenness. When we asked a student if she had faced much suffering in her life, she answered a decisive "no, not really." About a minute later, she mentioned her dad committing adultery with numerous women. It is almost subtly implied here that struggling (in any area) = lack of faith.
  • Observation #7: At Texas Tech, academia wasn't the focus. Fun was. Whether you were in a campus ministry (of which there were over 100!) or a soroity/ fraternity, you were there to enjoy. Studying came second. If some fun activity came up, students' calendar could easily be empty. At Liberty, academia isn't the focus, either. But I'm not sure fun is, either. Haven't figured this one out, but one thing is for sure-- Liberty students stay EXTREMELY busy. I'd pretty much say they thrive on it. Now, I don't know if this busy-ness is even legitimate, and I don't know what they're all so busy DOING, but so far, I've noticed they're busy.
  • Observation #8: At Texas Tech, it was easier to get our students to sign up & go to conferences. And they'd take 7 HOUR road trips ONE WAY on a weekend to go to a RUF conference. Thus far, at Liberty, it has been a little more difficult to get students to commit to going to a conference. (but after you've heard 5 or more sermons this week, would YOU really want to go & hear more?)
  • Observation #9: At Texas Tech, it was not the norm for us to have students interested in becoming a missionary or pastor. (I MUST blurt in here-- I believe every Christian's vocation is their " full time" Christian service... but, just making an observation). At Liberty, I am amazed at how many students want to pursue ministry, missions, and vocations that will serve other people.
  • Observation #10: At Texas Tech, we served there for 7 years and had lots of time to learn the campus and the students. At Liberty, this is only our first year, so everything I've just observed very well could be wrong! :)
At both places, GOD IS AT WORK!


  1. Lubbock has a rigid grid layout of streets. Lynchburg streets are all higgledy-piggledy.

  2. we love yall. and your little girl.

  3. Being that Texas Tech is a secular university and Liberty a "Christian" school may have something to do with the differences you have observed. Do you think?

    Nanny & Papa

  4. Very interesting. Good job at trying to stay objective. Keep up the good work you're in our prayers. - Faith

  5. I happened upon your blog and found this post very interesting. My husband and I attended RUF at UVa, and later lived in Lynchburg (where I'm from) for two years. What we observed of the Liberty culture we found to be very unique (and honestly frustrating for us in many ways) and very much like you described. My hat is off to you for doing what I am sure is very challenging ministry. I can imagine it definitely puts a new spin on the RUF system of a flexible methodology!

  6. Hey enjoyed the blog! Although, as a liberty grad I have to say that despite your #4 observation, I had lots of fun and tons of great memories and made some life-long friends. And aside from convo and sunday morning church... i cannot think of a single "extra-curricular" bible study that I attended in 4 years of on-campus living. so keep an open-mind to your current observations. A couple students do not always represent the whole!

  7. Im glad you wrote this, it was very helpful! I can relate way more to the texas side of things so life at Liberty is going to be interesting, I'm looking forward to it!