The Impact of Christian Challenge

We recently had the opportunity to interview 4 students currently involved with Christian Challenge. These students offer a variety of perspectives, especially when you consider the following: Of the four students, two are female and two are male. Two are juniors in college, and two are seniors in college. All four of these students attend different universities throughout Colorado, and all four are pursuing different degrees. But despite their differences each of these students made two choices that were exactly the same. All four of these students decided to get involved with Christian Challenge, and they each chose to do so their freshman year. Read through their responses to the questions below to see the tremendous impact Christian Challenge has made on their lives.

Hope Chiappini

Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Aerospace
Colorado State University

Veronica Harding

University Colorado Colorado Springs

Philip Marshall

Business Management and Marketing
University of Northern Colorado

Christopher Hayes

Colorado Mesa University


How has Christian Challenge helped establish or strengthen your faith in Jesus?

Hope: Christian Challenge has given me the tools and opportunities to grow and challenge myself. The amazing people on staff and my fellow students have all encouraged me to grow in my faith in all sort of aspects. This amazing community has truly shown me love and acceptance that Jesus showed anyone He met. Challenge has also given me many opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and share about Jesus. Through those experiences I have seen God’s grace through every step I have taken to further His kingdom.

Veronica: Even though my faith was established before college, as I had placed my faith in Christ when I was younger, Christian Challenge helped me establish foundational elements of my faith that had been missing previously, such as a consistent quiet time, discipleship, and evangelism. This opened my eyes to understanding that my faith needed to have much more investment than I had been giving it, which has led to God being at the center of my life and my faith as the greatest priority in my life.

Chris: Christian Challenge has helped strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ by providing amazing examples of what true followers look like and examples of what a culture focused on Christ really is. I grew up with a very passive faith, but since becoming part of Christian Challenge, my faith has been made active with the help of intentional discipleship and teaching. I was never really invited to grow in my faith until I joined Christian Challenge. 

Philip: When I came to college, I was a believer but I didn’t have a clear vision for what it meant to live out my faith for the rest of my life. Being a part of Christian Challenge helped me grow in my relationship with Jesus and live it out on my campus. I gained a new vision for how God can use me to impact others for him and I was given the training and support I needed to live that out.

"Christian Challenge helped me establish foundational elements of my faith that had been missing previously, such as a consistent quiet time, discipleship, and evangelism."



How did Christian Challenge play a role in the lighter side of your college experience, such as building community, finding close friends, and having fun?

Veronica: Praise the Lord, I have had such sweet memories and deep, intentional friendships through Christian Challenge, which comes from an outflow of walking alongside one another with Christ and having an understanding of the importance of Christian community. I have had the blessing of being able to live with some of my best friends for a couple of years, as well as taking on new adventures such as mission trips with some of my closest friends.

Hope: Challenge has connected me with my closest friends here in college. By learning about Jesus together, we end up walking through life together. They are the community I turn to when I am feeling down and the community that I can laugh and have fun with. I feel so much love and support from my Challenge community that I could not thank God enough for putting them in my life.

Philip: Christian Challenge provided me with an amazing community of friends that I could be a part of! Some of my closest friends and favorite memories came from being a part of Christian Challenge. I was able to be a part of retreats, conferences, and all kinds of great events that brought a lot of fun and joy to my college experience. Challenge events gave me something to always look forward to during the more grueling moments in the semester.

Chris: I was fresh out of high school and all my friends were moving away for work or school and I found myself alone or seeking friendship in the wrong places because I had lost the community that I knew. After being introduced to Christian Challenge I was welcomed into a community of believers with the goal of raising each other up and building genuine, Christ loving relationships.


How has your time in Christian Challenge made a difference in your goals or priorities?

Chris: Christian Challenge helped me learn about spiritual disciplines and healthy habits and helped me get into the habit of practicing them. After being blessed by the leadership and learning available through my Christian Challenge group, my faith has become my number one priority and has found a place inside of everything I set my mind to.

Philip: When I first came to college, I was self-focused on my own selfish ambitions for my career and life. I thought God was my priority, but I didn’t practically live that way. After being a part of Challenge, God expanded my understanding of why I was in college and what his purpose is for me. I understood that loving others and sharing the good news with those around me was my real mission on campus and for the rest of my life. I still pursue my academics and career, but I understand that my identity and purpose is so much deeper than that. 

Hope: My time in Challenge has forced me to make sure that I have my priorities straight. As a busy college student, I don’t have a lot of time to waste. The few years that I have been in Challenge have shown me that I want to prioritize a relationship with Jesus and that when I prioritize that time, the rest of my life tends to fall into place. By making sure that I spend time building the kingdom, I have been able to not let my academics define my self worth, something that I struggled with when I first got to college. I now wonder how I can help the other students in Challenge in their own faith walk instead of wondering if I can recover from a bad grade on an exam. This ministry has shown me how much worth there is in building faith (for myself and others) rather than letting the idol of academic achievement rule my life.

Veronica: My entire understanding and idea of being involved in ministry has shifted since coming to college and being in Christian Challenge. Previously, I did not recognize that I could pursue ministry as a career, but now, I understand that God is calling me to pursue a career in ministry at some point in my life. While my priorities and goals have shifted in monumental ways such as this, my goals and priorities have also shifted in seemingly small ways, such as in how I live my daily life but this also has had just as much of an impact on my life. There is a much deeper purpose behind everything that I do now, which has shifted how I perceive myself and my life, as well as how I interact with others.


What aspect(s) of Christian Challenge impacted your life the most?

Philip: I was most impacted by the deep relationships I built with other believers in Challenge. In these relationships, I gained true support and a place where I could be vulnerable and authentic in front of others. I was discipled by older and wiser believers who poured into me and encouraged me, and I also had the opportunity to disciple younger believers and pour into them. I felt like I truly belonged and was in an environment where I could actually grow in my faith.

Chris: The invitation to actively walk and live with Jesus as my Lord. It’s one thing to say “yeah I believe in God” and then go about your business as if that means nothing to you. But after being taught just how significant my relationship with God really is and being told that I have the privilege of living every day with Jesus Christ in my heart and by my side, there is no response other than to get up and start walking with the messiah.

Veronica: Discipleship has had one of the most significant impacts on my life, as it has challenged me in my faith in ways that I had not experienced before, ultimately, allowing me to grow in remarkable ways. I have seen this through being discipled, as well as having the opportunity to disciple others. Discipleship has provided serious accountability to my life, radically altering habits in my life, whether that be building up habits regarding disciplines, or eradicating harmful, sinful habits. Summer opportunities have also been extremely impactful on my life, as I have had the opportunity to be involved in a summer discipleship program and go on a mission trip, helping me use my summer effectively for God’s Kingdom, as well as increasing my burden and passion for His Kingdom.

Hope: The aspect of Christian Challenge that has impacted me the most is the community that is at Challenge. They have encouraged me to grow in many more ways than I thought I would ever be able to. As someone who has always been highly introverted, Challenge has encouraged me to reach out to the campus and have helped me grow to the point where I am now out evangelizing on my campus! This community encourages Godly growth and it has been such an amazing experience to get to see myself and my peers grow in Christ from the encouragement in this community.


Why would you encourage incoming freshmen to get involved with Christian Challenge?

Hope: I would strongly encourage incoming freshmen to get involved with Christian Challenge as Challenge is a safe haven in the tumultuous terrain that is college life. From different ideologies that surround you on campus to the challenges of college coursework, having a place that feels like a home away from home is crucial when navigating college life. When I was a freshman, I felt so homesick and alone when I first moved to college. Finding a community at Challenge gave me a group of people I would soon consider my family. They have taken care of me and are there for me in the highs and lows that are a part of life. I have been so blessed to be a part of Challenge that I want to share this amazing experience with anyone I can.

Veronica: You never know what could come from seizing the opportunity to be involved in Christian Challenge. Even if you have some hesitation with involving yourself in new opportunities, Christian Challenge is a great place to start because of how quickly you will feel welcomed and be invested in. Also, college is typically the first time that you experience religious autonomy, as well as autonomy in general, from your parents or guardians. Christian Challenge provides a great opportunity to explore your faith for yourself in a way that will ultimately strengthen and encourage you in your faith, even in the midst of being challenged and facing new opportunities. 

Philip: Incoming freshmen should get involved with Christian Challenge because it helps you build lifelong friends, grow in your faith, and gain a new understanding of your purpose in life. College is a time when students build a foundation for the rest of their lives. Being a part of Christian Challenge helps you build a strong foundation on the only thing that is truly secure and everlasting. Challenge is an authentic community that will allow you to be yourself while encouraging you to grow in your relationship with God. 

Chris: I would encourage freshmen to get involved because Jesus gave us a huge job to do when he told us to go and make disciples who can make disciples, and we can’t do that job as individuals. The emphasis on discipleship and aligning yourself with God makes Christian Challenge the tool that has set me up to continue walking in faith and sharing the gospel long after graduation.

"College is a time when students build a foundation for the rest of their lives. Being a part of Christian Challenge helps you build a strong foundation on the only thing that is truly secure and everlasting."


It’s interesting that four people with so many differences could come away with such similar impacts made in their lives, even with being a part of four different Christian Challenge ministries on four different campuses. Yet these are the stories we hear from students year after year, and this speaks to what Christian Challenge is all about. If you would like to see stories like these come true for soon to be college students in your life, please take time to share this article with them.

Christian Challenge is the Baptist representation of collegiate ministries throughout Colorado.  We exist to help college students come to know Jesus, learn to live like Him, and change the world the way He did. We absolutely love college students and want to be there to help them experience Christ daily as they pursue their degrees. We create communities on campus for students to explore the Christian faith, grow in their walk with Jesus, and learn how they can help reach the nations with the gospel. Each Christian Challenge ministry is unique and tailored to meet the needs of the campus in which it is located, but we all share the same love of God and love of people.