You may wonder if you will ever change the world, but if you’re involved in a Christian group on campus, you have more influence that you think.
ME: exploring identity at Valparaiso University
During the last week of October 2007, amidst the masking of Halloween, students at Valparaiso University in Indiana explored the question, “Who are you?” Throughout the week, the InterVarsity group hosted a speaker and discussion cafés for students to talk about deep questions of identity and faith and how they intersect.
The climax of the week was a play called ME that was written, performed and hosted by students in the chapter. “Many students struggle with the topic of identity,” said Caroline Triscik, InterVarsity staff. “Our chapter leaders wanted to creatively address the issue.”
One of the authors, Brittni Emery, recalls the early process. “We had a lot of concepts to include in the play,” she said. “It had to be something people can relate to, it had to talk about our identity in Christ, and it had to present the gospel in a non-cheesy way.” Brittni and Amanda Stenzel co-wrote the play around four main characters, one from each year of school, who struggled with life choices common to students.
“The purpose of presenting this play was to help others on campus understand that Christians struggle with the same life issues as other people,” said Amanda. “This play showed the reality of brokenness on our campus and offered ways to find healing. Our InterVarsity community is around to help us all discover our true selves.”
Brittni and Amanda knew they were biting off a huge project. “From the beginning, we made it a God-thing because we knew that we wouldn’t be able to pull it off ourselves, so we prayed for God’s will to be done through this play,” Brittni said. Their faith was tested down to the final week when they finally had a complete cast and full rehearsal.
“Honestly, I was nervous about the idea, but it was the greatest part of our mission week,” said Caroline. “The students did an amazing job of writing, acting and hosting this play.”
After the play, Brittni shared her testimony about how she found her identity in Jesus Christ. This led to a question-and-answer time where people asked sincere questions about faith and identity and life on campus.
“God worked through the play to hold up a mirror to the campus and help students see what they are placing their identity and hope in, instead of Christ,” said Caroline. Students commented that they could really relate to the characters and their situations at school, and it had a spiritual impact for their own lives.
The play, ME, is available for those who want to use it or adapt it for their campus.
Read another story about students who created fun skits for their weekly large-group meetings.