The Spiritual Climate

  • UTK enrolled a total of 28,321 students in 2017-2018.
  • Only about 10% of enrolled students are regularly involved in campus ministry or local churches.
  • That means 25,489 students at UT have chosen not to involve themselves in Christian communities.

The Opportunities

  • The state.  90% of enrolled students at UT are from the state of TN.  When they graduate from UT, most students scatter back throughout the state.  Our hope is that as students from all over the state come through our ministry and are affected with the gospel, they will take that gospel DNA with them back across TN.  Therefore, doing RUF at UT enables us to do statewide missions in our own backyard.
  • The culture.  Tim Keller has said, “If you're on the college campus you're on the cutting edge of the culture, you're looking at the culture 15 years from now.”  The University is incredibly strategic for the sake of advancing the Kingdom.  If you want to reach the culture with the gospel, you must engage the institutions that shape its values and identity.  We have an opportunity to influence tomorrow’s leaders with the gospel with the hope that they take the gospel with them into their various fields.
  • The world.  Over 12% of graduate/professional students at UT are international students.  Our hope is that as international students are reached for Christ, they will take the gospel back with them to their native countries. Therefore, UTK enables us not only to do statewide missions but overseas missions in our own backyard.

The Future of UT

  • UT is currently in a major push to be a top 25 school. 
  • The rise of ACT scores is changing the personality of the campus into becoming even more of a front-runner, elite, influential state university.
  • Therefore, there are incredible opportunities ahead to influence future cultural elites with the gospel.

Our Ministry

The Past: A 25+ Year Legacy

RUF began on the campus of UT in 1990, led by the Rev. Fred Harrell.  For over 25 years now, God has used this ministry in unbelievable ways for the sake of His Kingdom.  The Lord has used RUF to expose literally thousands of students to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  No doubt, there are countless numbers of students that have been converted through this ministry.  Many RUF students over the years have entered into full-time vocational ministry (including becoming RUF campus ministers).

The Present: What we’re doing

RUF’s vision of ministry has always been to establish a diverse community of students on campus that are 1) individually growing in grace, 2) collectively serving the campus, the church, and each other within the RUF community, 3) engaged with personal evangelism on campus, and 4) developing a Biblical worldview.  We are deeply committed to engaging unbelievers with the gospel and eager to see how the Lord continues to bless this ministry.