After eight years of service for Reformed University Fellowship at Covenant College, Ron Brown will not be returning as campus minister this semester.
Ron, his wife, Susan, and their two dogs loaded up their things on Lookout Mountain and moved to Panama City in early August to begin their ministry at First Presbyterian Church Panama City. Ron was invited twice to the congregation at First Presbyterian to preach and get to know some of the members of the body. After his second visit to the church, the session of elders voted unanimously to call him as assistant pastor.
Prior to his service here at Covenant, Ron served as the first RUF campus minister at Florida State University for seven years. Following his time at FSU, Ron served as assistant pastor at two PCA churches, one in Florida and one in Chattanooga, before receiving his call as campus minister at Covenant in 2006.
Reformed University Fellowship is the campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which seeks to reach students for Christ and equip them to serve through large group meetings, small group Bible studies, and one-on-one discipleship. Since its inception in the late 1970s, RUF now has chapters on over one hundred college and university campuses across the United States and includes over 200 full-time staff members.
RUF at Covenant had only existed for five years when Ron became the minister. Ron shaped the program by leading weekly large group meetings that consisted of corporate worship and Biblical teaching. Under his leadership, RUF also offered a plethora of discipleship and fellowship opportunities, such as small group training, Super Bowl parties, ministering to Chattanooga’s widows, and even an occasional Hoedown.
“Ron taught me about the intrinsic value of fellowship between believers as a means of deepening relationships,” said Jonathan Moore, a junior at Covenant. “Ron didn’t have to theologize everything; he was fine with hosting events for the sake of gathering people together to simply have fun.”
Ron coupled his passion for casual fellowship with a deep love for God’s word and its teaching, as well as a desire for students to know the Bible and its implications for their lives, especially through the preaching and study of the Scriptures.
“Ron’s messages often contained profound truth about God’s love and how it should impact our lives. Ron worked hard to ensure that his sermons were contextualized for the college student, and was willing to tackle profound truths in the Scriptures, not simply shy away from them,” said Conrad Meek, a senior.
Ultimately, Ron’s teaching was Christ-centered and gospel-focused. Ron’s farewell sermon at RUF was last Tuesday, Sept. 2, in which he preached on the Christian’s duty to pick up his cross daily and follow Jesus and in return, receive true life.
Ron concluded, “Run to Jesus. Swim to Jesus, whatever it takes. Jesus wants to see you, he wants to be with you, and as you know Jesus, you will not run away from him but you will run to him. You’ll be willing to die for him, and you’ll be willing to live.”
As finding a replacement campus minister typically takes eight to twelve months, Covenant’s RUF will likely be without an official minister until next year. For the interim, RUF will be led by second-year intern Barr Overcast.
Under Barr’s leadership, RUF will be hosting guest speakers throughout the school year from local churches and even some students from Covenant.
RUF meets weekly at 11:00 a.m. in the Caudle Room in Maclellan & Rymer Hall, and all students, faculty, and staff are invited to join the gatherings.