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What Do a Reformed Seminary and a Historically Black University Have in Common?

The Witness

Last month, I transitioned out of my position as an intern with Reformed University Fellowship. For the past three years, I worked as staff with RUF at Jackson State University. Before Jackson State, I was apart of RUF at Belhaven University. I absolutely LOVE the ministry of RUF as a whole, but the presence of RUF at Jackson State is significant and exciting.


RUF at Jackson State is the first chapter on a Historical Black Campus. Although attempts were made in the early 2000s, RUF had never breached a Black campus until 2007. Because RUF had never been established on a HBCU, my church’s Session (Redeemer PCA), RUF and the Mississippi Valley Presbytery allowed Elbert McGowan Jr., an RTS Jackson student at the time, to spend his last year of seminary on the campus of JSU to “test the waters.” By the end of that year, it was obvious the LORD was at work on that campus, and that His favor and blessing was upon the ministry. In 2008, Elbert was ordained and installed as the RUF Campus Minister of Jackson State University.

Today, the Lord’s favor rests upon the work and shepherding students at JSU remains thoroughly satisfying and needed. Pastor El and his interns, Latasha and Jamaal, minister to over 200 students through Large Group, Small Groups, One on Ones and campus wide events. If you were to attend one of the Large Group Bible Studies on Thursday night you would find anywhere from 150-200 students (mostly Black) in fellowship, breaking bread, receiving expository teaching and engaging in Christ-centered worship.  A visitor in the Spring was floored that we had so many students coming to a Bible study that was not flooded with games and gimmicks, just Jesus. RUF at JSU preaches Christ and him crucified. Students receive Christ-centered theology on fire week after week.

African American Leadership Initiative at RTS

With RUF at JSU and Redeemer Church PCA, Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson provides a unique context for multi-ethnic, urban, and African American ministry. Partnering with these ministries and more, the African American Leadership Initiative (AALI) hopes to offer mentoring, modeling, fellowship, and scholarship for students.

In the Fall, we sat down with RUF campus minister, Elbert McGowan Jr., to discuss the significance of AALI and RUF at Jackson State partnering. You can listen in on our conversation with him by watching the video below.

Interested in seminary at RTS Jackson? For more information about AALI, click here.

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