Who we are
Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) is the campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Although we are sent to the campus by the PCA, we welcome students from any and all walks of life - from a wide variety of church and religious backgrounds. We are here for the "convinced" and the "unconvinced." RUF brings to USF a heart for God and a love for the university campus. We reflect the historic positions of the Church, including: the full authority of the Bible; the necessity of new life in Christ; and the task of the Church to proclaim the Gospel to the world and to equip believers for the work of ministry.
What we believe
As a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America, we reflect the historic positions of the Church. The PCA's full doctrinal statement is the Westminster Confession of Faith. Since there are many different ministries on the USF campus, it is important to ask: What makes RUF distinctive? Here are four different ways to answer that question.
Reformed Theology: We are committed to orthodox Christianity through the theological tradition of the Protestant Reformation.
Word-centered Ministry: We believe that our understanding of God and our spiritual development comes through the study of the Christian Scriptures.
Pastoral Presence: We send ordained ministers to the campus to provide pastoral care for students.
Ecclesiastical Ministry: We build bridges for students and the Church -- where their Christian lives will be lived out after college.
Instructed and guided by this system of belief, RUF has developed a philosophy of ministry which is biblically informed and pastorally sensitive. We have four goals that we believe fulfill the church’s role of reaching and equipping students with the gospel.
01. Growth in Grace
We seek to help students grow in their spiritual lives through the profound grace of the gospel.
02. Missions &Evangelism
We encourage students profess what they believe without fear or manipulation.
03. Service & Fellowship
We seek to build community which cares for itself but also for others.
04. Biblical World and Life View
We want students to consider their Christian faith as an essential part of how they live and work in the world.
“RUF is a place for you to come know others and be known.”
History of RUF at USF
In 2004, Rev. Paul Joiner moved to Tampa, FL to begin RUF on USF's campus. While Tampa had a rich heritage of Reformed and Presbyterian churches in the greater Tampa area, there was still need for a Gospel centered, theologically sound ministry at USF. After serving on USF's campus for five years, Paul answered a call to become senior pastor of Zion Presbyterian in Columbia, TN. With an open door for ministry at USF, Rev. Jeff Lee moved to Tampa in 2009 to be RUF's second campus pastor at USF. After serving as the campus minister for RUF at USF for seven years Jeff and his family moved to Boca Raton to start an RUF at FAU in the summer of 2016. That same summer Andrew Newman and his family moved to Tampa to take over as the campus minister for RUF at USF where he is still serving in that capacity.
RUF's History as an Organization
Reformed University Fellowship grew out of the passion of young, Presbyterian (PCA) ministers in the southeastern United States in the late 1970's. These individuals dreamed of a campus ministry that was both theologically honest and winsomely welcoming. From those passions grew two great convictions.
The first was that campus ministry ought to be centered on the word of God proclaimed. "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead," said Jesus. "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ," said Paul. A commitment to Scripture as being the only rule of faith and practice was to be the guiding principle of all campus ministry.
The second was that campus ministry needed the community of the church. Jesus promised that when his followers were sent out that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The church was both responsible and equipped to bring the gospel to the campus to see students reached for Christ and equipped to serve.
To that end, the Presbyterian Church in American (PCA) in the late 1970's commissioned Reformed University Fellowship to coordinate a campus movement that stood in line with the great, foundational truths of the Reformation and functioned under the oversight of ordained campus ministers and their regional bodies.
Since that time, Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) has spread to more than 150 campuses across the country and has grown to include well over 200 full time staff.