by Chloie Benton, Public Relations Writer
Cedarville University senior accounting major Kurtis De Pree has a passion for evangelism. In his four years at Cedarville, he has had multiple gospel conversations with students at area universities, including Central State University and Ohio State University.
While he enjoys each opportunity to talk about his Christian faith, his favorite opportunity has also been the most hostile.
For the past two school years, De Pree has been a committed visitor to the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) at Ohio State. Comprised of atheists and agnostics, the alliance provides a weekly forum for debatable secular topics.
Cedarville’s connection with SSA began with Michaela Ruhlmann, a 2016 Cedarville alumna. Ruhlmann struck up a friendship with an SSA member during an OSU campus visit in 2015, and after her graduation, De Pree took over and began attending the meetings.
Although the environment has been openly hostile at times, De Pree is convinced God has him at the SSA meetings for a reason. “I give them a proper presentation of what Christians believe by asking questions that force them to think about their beliefs,” he noted.
According to De Pree, the SSA president emails him each meeting’s topic, and he prepares and prays accordingly. He then spends Thursday evening at OSU discussing the topic with SSA members.
“If they have a time that they are questioning what they believe, and want to explore Christianity, they are comfortable coming and asking those questions,” he said. But it’s not only during meeting times that De Pree interacts. He makes himself available other times for questions, and he pursues friendships with SSA members.
By investing in these relationships, De Pree explained that he has been able to establish trust within the group and believes that the relationships have been mutually beneficial.
Cedarville’s campus outreach ministry takes evangelism teams to four college campuses on a weekly basis. Developing relationships is the initial way students can eventually share the gospel. Joshua Ruhlmann, senior finance major, began serving as co-president for the campus outreach ministry this fall.
Recently, Cedarville students have started attending secular meetings at Wright State University, and Ruhlmann said those meetings have a singular purpose.
“We want to form relationships so we can share the gospel through our actions and our words,”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.