Although the name Steve Lutz may not ring a bell with most Temple students, this Interfaith Council member and official leader of Crosswalk, Temple’s Campus Crusade for Christ chapter, has played a key role in many students’ lives and academic careers.
Hired two years ago by the Philly Metro division of Campus Crusade for Christ, Lutz continues to play a strong role as a spiritual leader. He is determined to be a humble leader that simply guides Crosswalk without taking away the student-leadership element. Lutz strives to serve students as a mentor.
In addition, Lutz is the campus pastor at Liberti, a small Philadelphia church. On campus he strives to encourage students to find a local church to regularly attend and get plugged into.
“One of my goals is to be a bridge to involvement in local churches,” Lutz said. “I encourage people to get involved in a Gospel-preaching church.”
Lutz said a Gospel-preaching church is one that clearly “teaches the good news” of Jesus Christ.
While Lutz does not necessarily encourage students to go to Liberti, there is a large community of Temple students at the church. Lutz is thankful for their commitment.
Lutz’s vision for Temple is that there would be a large presence of loving non-hypocritical Christians, he said.
Lutz is official recognized by Temple through his membership in the Interfaith Council, which is an organization that seeks to meet the spiritual needs of Temple students. As a Christian member on the Council, Lutz promotes his personal faith. Similarly, other members promote faiths other than Christianity.
In his time at Temple he has seen positive growth of Crosswalk and a growth of Christians. However, there is still work to be done and as long as he is being called he will keep up his ministry.
“We’re seeing positive steps,” he said. “But by no means am I satisfied.”
On Good Friday, students may have seen their fellow classmates walking around campus with crosses on their backs. This activity is the direct action of Crosswalk. According to Lutz, the idea of this activity is to put the name of the group into practice.
“We [wanted] to illustrate that we [identified] with what Christ has done for us on the day we remember His death, Good Friday,” he said.
Last year at Temple’s Spring Fling event, Crosswalk’s students were driven by an event described in Donald Miller’s book “Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.”
The students set up a confession booth for students to come into where they could hear Christians apologizing for Christianity’s brutal behavior throughout history.
“We apologized [to] Muslims for the Crusades, African Americans for justifying slavery, and for not loving our neighbors,” Lutz said.
It is actions like these that Crosswalk members perform to show the campus that the brand of Christianity that they strive for is genuine and true. Lutz described Christianity as more than a “system of rules” but as relationship with a person.
The man who made Lutz’s influence on Temple’s campus possible is Steve Baker, Philly Metro director. While there is not an official hiring process, Baker is the one that appointed Lutz the official leader of Crosswalk. Baker found that Lutz was doctrinally sound with Campus Crusade for Christ advocated and selected him appropriately.
“Steve was in the process of becoming a college pastor,” Baker said. “We said it would be a great fit to have him as a designated leader. He’s consistent with what we value.”
Through his time with Lutz in these two years, Baker has become much closer to him. There is a friendship between them, not an employee/boss relationship. Baker said he does not feel the need to watch over what Lutz does very closely because he trusts him.
“The group [at Temple] has more than doubled in size,” he said. “It’s grown by about two and a half.”
Lutz’s presence at Temple has affected many Christian student leaders on campus. Melissa Trott, a fifth-year senior, saw the group for a few years prior to Lutz entering and noticed a tremendous impact. Crosswalk went from a group that had some divisions, according to Trott, to a group that united under a single leader.
“Now we have a constant word every week,” Trott said. “How tight a group will be starts with leadership.”
Robbie Artz, a junior at Temple, has equally flattering words about Lutz. Artz especially notes Lutz commitment and how he has diversified the group in a positive way.
“He is a guy who has devoted time, his life, really, to a group of students,” he said. “It’s given us a figurehead to look up to. It’s given me a friend, a brother and a mentor.”
As these students have experienced, Lutz has proven himself to be a humble leader. Lutz as a consistent leader devoted to the group will bless new students experiencing Crosswalk for the first time.
Jonathan Rashid can be reached at iJonny@gmail.com.