Connecting college students to Christ: Finding a new church home


Amanda M. Klemp

“Legitimately, I stumbled in, and they were really warm and welcoming.”

It was Alexis M.’s second day in Ottawa as she began school at Carleton University, and she wanted to worship that Sunday morning. This biomedical and electrical engineering student saw St. Paul was open and holding services, so she went in and sat down. That is how she came to learn about Lutheran doctrine and to start the next chapter in her faith life.


Luke Thompson holds weekly dinners and Bible studies in his home for the campus ministry in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

After her first chance visit there, Alexis continued to attend every Sunday and joined Illumine, the church’s campus ministry group.

“One thing I really like is, when talk-ing to Pastor Thompson, everything is referenced to the Bible,” she says.

Alexis grew up in a Catholic home and attended Catholic schools. Getting into the Bible has opened her eyes to the message of salvation through Christ alone. “For me, someone who is trying to grow in their faith and spend more time with God and spend time trying to understand the Bible, being able to see where the verses correlate with each other, where things come into place in the Bible, is so very important,” she says.

Her parents, active Catholics, are supportive of her scriptural and faith pursuits through Illumine. While she hasn’t been confirmed yet, she has taken classes and considers St. Paul her church home.

The Illumine group, she explains, is supportive and encouraging. “I highly recommend that any Lutheran church that can have this program should have it, because it gives students a place to go and feel welcome and know that just because they’re Christian does not mean they can’t have fun or can’t interact with others. They can spend time learning about the Word of God,” says Alexis.

She continues, “It gave me a break from school. It gave me time in my week, no matter what, to go and get to spend time with God.”



Eric Liu, 2012 and 2014 University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate

Meet Eric Liu, a 2012 and 2014 University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate currently pursuing his PhD in Southeast Asia. “My journey to Jesus started by reading on the Internet Bible verses in my language. I kept thinking about these verses. One night, there was a voice saying, ‘You should take a look at Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel where you had Triple Dollar Dinner three years ago.’ The next day, I went to Chapel and nervously asked the girl at the front desk how I could know more about Jesus and Christianity. I was introduced to Pastor Bill and began studying the Bible with him. I was so blessed to be baptized at Chapel in August of 2014. Without my Savior, I would still be in darkness.”

Amanda Klemp, WELS editorial projects manager, is a member at Living Word, Waukesha, Wisconsin.


Read more about how WELS missionaries are working to spread the gospel in the U.S. and around the world on the WELS Missions blogs.


Need some spiritual support and encouragement while you’re at school? As a college student you can get both Forward in Christ magazine and Meditations, a book of daily devotions, mailed to you for free.




Author: Amanda M. Klemp
Volume 103, Number 9A
Issue: September 2016

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

Print Friendly, PDF & Email