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Francois Kruger of The Rock on Campus
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Light the Fire Again



Matthew 7:13-14: 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (NIV)

Market research by the Barna Group and others agree: Around 75% of church kids will leave the church during their post-secondary years never to return. Let that sink in for a second. Three out of every four of those beautiful, fresh-faced children who recently sang in your church’s Easter presentation will leave the faith forever at the end of their high school careers. The Rock on Campus (TRoC), a college campus and chaplaincy ministry at Fanshawe College (among others) is dedicated to stemming the tide of the exodus of the faith, and to bring new believers into the Body of Christ.

Francois Kruger, Executive Director of TRoC, has been providing love and support on campus for far longer than the ministry itself has existed, and he is well positioned to affect the lives of students, having been a struggling university student himself.

“My father died on Christmas day when I was 12 years old,” says Kruger. “His death sent me into a spiral of very poor choices during my teen years, many of them ungodly and which continued during my early university years.” In his second year of university he met a Christian who stuck with him through the failure of his engagement, leaving university and getting a job, and during continued poor behavioural choices.

It was this friendship with another Christian student and Mike Warnke’s book, “Satan Seller,” that were pivotal in stopping the spiral, and Kruger went back to school part time. Despite reservations, he accepted an invitation to attend an Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship event on campus and he was impressed with the way other Christian students embraced him. Devouring the New Testament and joining a Pentecostal Church, Kruger fell in love with God, a love that has become more intense and beautiful through the years. He lives to share that relationship with the students at Fanshawe College.

“My heart breaks that students are trying to look for satisfaction and validation outside of Christ,” says Kruger. “They are living by sight and not by faith, and are making the same mistakes I did in school before I met Jesus. Though chaplains are nothing if we are not an extension of the local church, I get to walk down the halls of the school and engage with students about every aspect of life, including with those who are walking away (from church).”

One example of the importance of TRoC is of a student who recently reconnected with the ministry. The student came from a strong Christian home in a small town outside of London and the student’s mother contacted TRoC as she was concerned about college life. The mother spoke quite highly of the faith of the student, and assured TRoC staff that the student would connect when they got settled in. The student never called.

“Just last Sunday I got a call, and the student said he needed to talk,” says Kruger. “He had broken up with his girlfriend and said, ‘I want to come back, but I don't know if I can.’ These are God created appointments.”

TRoC has expanded beyond Fanshawe College to St. Clair and Lambton Colleges, and the vision is to spread across Ontario. To this end on March 21 TRoC held a fundraising banquet headlined by Christian author, radio host, and humourist Phil Callaway. While Callaway’s unique brand of observational humour and storytelling kept the crowd engaged, the theme of reaching students who would otherwise never have the spiritual support of a chaplain nor the opportunity to hear the clear call to salvation through Jesus Christ was never left, even by Callaway.

“Students are wrestling with all kinds of things so we are creating community to help with that,” says Kruger. “We’re not about numbers, we’re not about success,’ but we do want to make a dent in what’s been labeled ‘the exodus from the church.’”

“I was once an obnoxious, ignorant, womanizing, perverse, weekend alcoholic. My crimes against God mean that He would be just and right to punish me for my crimes against Him. Instead Jesus rescued me and transformed my life and took the punishment for my crimes. I love students and want TRoC to be a place where people will know that God loves them unconditionally, that there is a safe place to come and be heard, and that there is nothing that can separate a student from God’s amazing love.”

To learn more about how you can support this vitally important campus ministry go to www.therockoncampus.org.