The 3rd annual Lousiana Leaders' Summit,was more than a gathering of college students serving as leaders from Chi Alpha Christian Fellowships (XA) around the state, it was a time for students to realize they are a part of something bigger than their local campuses--they are the future leaders for Christianity and the world.
"The college campus in America is probably the single most influential voice in our society and our world," said Lousiana State Director of XA Eric Treuil. "Every community in America will be impacted by what happens on the university campus."
Treuil said the purpose of the leaders' summit, held at the XA Student Center in Lafayette from March 26-27, was to inspire all of the state's student leaders and equip them to better reach their campuses.
College campuses are the most important mission field today, said Treuil, who believes society can change when students are touched by God and apply their faith in their professions.
Current leaders and future leaders for XA attended the gathering.
"It was really cool to come to see students leaders who had a really hungry heart for God come to see what they could do for God," said April Hermanson, a college graduate who is training to become a campus missionary.
During the summit, XA campus pastors from the 8-attending universities in Lousiana taught around a dozen workshops listed among three tracts: Personal Spiritual Discipline, Outreach and Ministry. For the first time, speakers only had 25 minutes to complete a workshop before students rotated to another of their choice.
Hermanson found the short workshops taught by the campus pastors were really effective.
"The students were really spurred on by the pastors," said Hermanson. "It was really good for the students to see pastors from their own campuses and from all over teh state. They learned things they wouldn't get to hear in a worship setting or large group setting."
She added, "It was very interactive, question and answer. They were able to see the heart of the pastor more and see their leadership styles."
The workshops also helped Hermanson to strengthen herself as a future campus missionary. She said the pastors were able to teach her how to apply creative activities and put them into practice while working with the students. This is most helpful to Hermanson since she describes herself as often getting stuck in a rut.
The pastors weren't the only teachers at the summit. According to Treuil, when the student leaders rubbed shoulders with one another, they would talk and pick up things from each other that were not taught in the workshops, enabling them to return to their campuses an excited and healthy attitude.
Treuil, who has been the state's XA director for 20 years, said more people are devoting their lives to become full-time campus missionaries. The first XA was formed in 1953 but there was no long-term growth due to a lack of full-time missionaries.
However, since the late 1990s, there was a "wonderful shift within XA's national vision for reaching campuses" said Treuil. The XA ministry began training people to become missionaries to college campuses as they would missionaries sent abroad.
He would like to see that progress continue. He described his goal while serving as the state director to send more campus missionaries to establish XA in colleges that yet don't have a chapter and see multi-staff ministries grow deeper as they reach out to different groups of students on campus such as athletes, international students and students of various ethnic backgrounds.
Treuil hopes that even seniors who are graduating can expand the mission and take what they've learned to a local church or a local campus.
The summit ended with a commissioning event which encouraged the leaders to apply and continue what they learned at the summit in their respective positions. The attendees prayed for new freshman leaders while freshmans reciprocated the encouragement to graduating seniors by pointing to them as they were lined-up and saying, "You inspire me. I appreciate your faithfulness but don't stop yet."