Our Core Beliefs

Reformed University Fellowship is a community of students that exist to love and serve God and the University of South Florida. Our goal is to help students come to understand, know, and follow Jesus Christ as they walk through their college years, and to help lay a foundation for a lifetime of following Jesus and serving him in all areas of life. We're here for the campus, both for students from any religious background and students who have no religious background at all. Whatever kind of Bull you are and whatever your story, RUF is for you. 

1.  Word of God - We believe the Bible is the written word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and without error. The Bible is the revelation of God’s truth and is infallible and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice.

2.  Trinity - We believe in the Holy Trinity.  There is one God, who exists eternally in three persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  

3.  Depravity of Man - We believe that all are sinners and totally unable to save themselves from God’s wrath and displeasure.

4.  Sovereignty of God - We believe that salvation is by God alone as He sovereignly chooses those He will save. We believe His choice is based on His grace, not on any human individual merit, or foreseen faith.

5.  Atonement of Christ - We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who through His perfect life and sacrificial death atoned for the sins of all who will trust in Him, alone, for salvation.

6.  Indwelling of the Holy Spirit - We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells God’s people and gives them the strength and wisdom to trust Christ and follow Him.

7.  Return of Christ - We believe that Jesus will return, bodily and visibly, to judge all mankind and to receive His people to Himself.

8.  Lordship of Christ - We believe that all aspects of our lives are to be lived to the glory of God under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.



Our principles are the fuel that drive our ministry.  Our only hope in life and death is the redemption that is offered to us in the Gospel.  In short, these four principles help us understand the Gospel and how it applies to our lives.  

1.  Justification - To be justified means to be made right with God.  "We believe justification is a work of God's free grace in which He forgives all of our sins and accepts us as righteous in his sight for the sake of the righteousness of Christ alone, which is credited to us and received by faith alone."  

- In practical terms - We believe every person in the world has an innate drive to justify their lives and to prove their worth.  When we find out we have failed, we either become defensive (to justify our actions) or we work extra hard to overcome the failure.  This thinking flies in the face of the Gospel.  WIth God, we find that we can't justify ourselves, nor can we work hard enough to prove our worth.  It's actually God who has justified us through Christ to make us right with Him.

2.  Sanctification - To be sanctified means to be set apart for a noble purpose, to be made holy.  "We believe sanctification is the work of God's free grace by which we are renewed throughout in the image of God and are enabled more and more to die to sin and live to righteousness."

- In practical terms - We believe every person in the wold has an innate desire to change; to be a stronger athlete, to be more successful, to be a better student, etc.  Our desire for change is rooted in our drive to justify our lives.  If being successful justifies my existence, then I will work extra hard, no matter the cost, to find success. Not only is this exhausting, it's ultimately empty.  This thinking flies in the face of the Gospel.  When we are justified with God, we find freedom!  We are no longer slaves to old exhausting patterns of life, because God continues to work in our hearts and lives to renew us in His image.  We are no longer pressured to prove our worth because God has proved our worth in Christ on the cross.

3.  Glorification - To be glorified means to be perfect.  We believe that all of those who God has justified will one day stand glorified and perfect in His presence.  This doesn't mean we'll float on clouds playing harps!  It does mean that the effects of sin, disease, sickness, and death will one day be finally eradicated.  We will live in a world with no cancer, no wars, and no hatred.  Glorification is organically connected to our need to justify ourselves and our desire to change.

- In practical terms - We believe every person is ultimately living for some future hope.  I work hard (change) to be a professional athlete so that when I finally achieve that status, my life will have meaning (justification), and I will be able to live the dream I have always desired (ultimate hope).  There are two problems with this thinking.  One, what if you never achieve your goal?  Is life then meaningless?  Two, history is filled with those who have attained all of their dreams only to remain empty and unfulfilled.  Death is the great equalizer that finally crushes all of our dreams and desires.  One of the great hopes of the Gospel is that there is life beyond the grave.  As the Apostle Paul stated, "If our hope is for this life only, we are to be pitied more than all men."

4.  Scripture - We believe that the Bible is God's written word revealed to us.  God's Word is true, without error, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and authoritative for all of life.  All that we need to live life faithfully in God's presence can be found in His Word.  

- In practical terms - We believe every person is basing their life on something they believe to be true.  Many may not be able to articulate it, it may just be a feeling, but decisions are made based on a greater reality.  We believe there is no greater reality in life than God Himself.  Therefore, we believe there is nothing truer in life than the words that He gives.  



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

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.