Campus Ministry

The FCA House Story

Three years ago, David Melms couldn’t get the idea of a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) house near Macalester College in St. Paul out of his head.

Melms, who graduated from Macalester College in 2013, would take prayer walks around his neighborhood and see houses for sale. Melms had been one of the students to start the FCA ministry on campus in spring 2010.

“I would walk by this one house time and time again and it would be for sale and it just sparked something in my mind about, ‘well, how cool would that be if there was a house for the FCA ministry that had somewhat of a legacy to it where I knew that Christians were there year after year and it was a place where people could go chill and have fun too,” Melms said.

The FCA ministry is on college campuses across the country, led by student athletes and coaches working to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And so the idea for a campus ministry for Macalester College stayed in Melms’ mind. During his college years, Melms had formed a friendship with Paul Olson, who is a member of the Macalester College Board of Trustees.

Olson had also recognized a need for a Christian ministry on Macalester College.

“They don't formally recognize campus ministries at Macalester, even FCA, though we love and want the best for the campus — so, our good relationships and trust as alumni leads to being welcomed into the athletics department,” Melms said.

Olson approached Melms about two years ago and proposed buying a house to create an intentional student ministry near most of the college campuses in St. Paul.

“(Olson) wanted to take those steps and buy a property near Macalester, but his wife was only wanting it if it would be something intentional like a student ministry, and that’s what they proposed,” Melms said. “I’ve always wanted something like that and I’d been praying for something like that, so it ended up being a yearlong journey to search for the right house.”

The group eventually found a house about a block from Macalester College, with an unfinished basement. Olson made an offer, which was accepted and the first people moved in 2017.

FCA Construction.jpg

In the spring, renovations began on the basement to create a common space for those living in the house. The renovations included a prayer room, a kitchenette, tables for studying, a laundry room and an entertainment area.

The leadership spent six months working on the basement.

“This is all new to us, too, so it’s not that it’s not a good time for a story but the story is just starting to unfold,” Melms said.

The benefits of the house for Christian students are twofold — on one hand, students get face-to-face interaction with other students of faith living in the house, including Melms and his wife, who live upstairs. The other part is that the students have been gifted with a house and so should become disciples on their campus.

“They have this incredible home, because it’s not a college home — it’s a half-million dollar property that has been gifted to them, so it’s not your typical college apartment unit,” Melms said. “So the expectations for living in the house are that you’re excited about growing your faith and you’re excited about growing in a Christian community and you’re wanting to bless your campus with the house that you’ve been given.”


Everything about the house was made possible through the grace of God, Melms said.

“It isn’t really a story about an FCA staff guy or an FCA ministry, but there is just a ton of people that have been really generous in the process and God has just given us a great deal of confidence,” Melms said. “We had a confidence through it all that God is going to do something with this and he’s shown us he’s going to do this.”


This post written by Maggie Stanwood. Stanwood is a multimedia reporter at the Prior Lake American. She also freelances for the White Bear Press Pub and the Elk River Star News. Read more of her writing at this website

Understanding the Cross-cultural Experience of International Students

This post is written by JaNae Stynsberg. She works at local campuses through International Students, Inc. In this piece, she shares about an event she recently organized at Trinity City Church's building. 

I have had the privilege of engaging with international students at the University of St. Thomas for several years and recently became a full time staff member with International Students, Inc. TCC’s partnership has been a huge blessing in this work with numerous members helping with English Club, special events and developing individual relationships beyond that.

TCC recently gave us the opportunity to host a unique event designed to help youth experience cross-cultural understanding in a positive way. A couple youth pastors from small towns in southern MN and eastern Wisconsin wanted to expose their youth to diversity to help plant in them a heart for the nations. It took awhile to figure out how to introduce 40 American teenagers to international students in a non-awkward way, but we came up with the International Student Panel idea. International students from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, India and Nigeria answered questions that the teens, pastors and myself had come up with ahead of time.  

The students shared that what they expected the US to be like, what surprised them, what they sacrificed to come here, how Americans can better welcome foreign peoples, and things that seemed strange/confusing/funny/hard to get used to about Americans.  They also shared if they ever felt targeted in a negative way because of their race or religion.  

The night’s discussion was great but several answers stood out. When it came to how to better welcome in foreign peoples, the discussion became focused on how believers have personally interacted with them. Something commonly reiterated was that they have really enjoyed being welcomed into churches and studying the Bible with people, but they also said they have experienced people not being open to listening to what they believe or making assumptions or criticisms about what they believe before even knowing anything about their religion. Another thing stated was a feeling that some Christians will only want to be friends with them if they are open to becoming Christians themselves. One of the guys said if someone wants to share about their faith with him, he prefers if they tell about how they have personally experienced God rather than just listing off verses or reading through different materials.

It’s safe to say that it was more than just the teens who gleaned wisdom from this panel discussion. I knew that would be the case because I often feel like I’ve only scratched the surface in my understanding of cultures and how to share the love of Christ with each individual. I’m happy to say each international student left the night feeling heard and validated in the answers they gave. The youth group students left with a new understanding of these cultures, what it’s like to be a foreigner here and also with new questions about how to engage in evangelism and missions.

Thanks again for the opportunity to do this event at TCC! It’s a beautiful thing for the local church to be one of the first agents to welcome in our friends from all over the world!

A Tommie is Called to Paris

Maggie Rudorfer is a recent graduate of the University of Saint Thomas (UST), and attended Trinity City Church while she was a Tommie. In this short Q & A, Maggie shares what is next for her and how we can support her.

How did Cru at UST impact your faith?

During my freshman year, Jesus Christ completely captivated my heart after truly grasping the Gospel, and I became heavily involved with Cru, a Christian organization on campus.

As I grew in my relationship with the Lord, I learned how to share my faith and help new believers grow in their walks with Him. It has been exciting to see God use me to reach others with the Gospel and I have realized that people all over the world need to hear about Christ’s love for them.

How did you connect with Trinity City Church? What role did this local church play during your time at UST?

I first connected with Trinity City Church during the Spring Semester of my freshman year while attending the University of Saint Thomas after being invited by a few close friends. Throughout my years at UST, Trinity City Church became a place that allowed so much growth in my walk with the Lord, as I set out to experience what it meant to truly have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Now that you graduated, what do you believe the Lord is calling you to do next?

After earnestly praying for God to use me however He wanted after I graduated, I learned of an opportunity to go to Paris, France for an internship with Cru to reach college students with the Gospel. Paris is known to be the City of Lights, but when it comes to spirituality and faith, this city is known to be extremely dark. There is apathy towards the Gospel, but the Lord has been moving tremendously in this city. I decided to say yes to this opportunity, and I cannot wait to be a part of what the Lord is doing in this city.

What do you hope to accomplish in Paris?

My desire is to see the Gospel intersect the lives of students in Paris as they are given the opportunity to have a personal, life transforming relationship with Christ and experience intentional community. My desire is that the City of Lights would become a Light to the World!

How can others partner with you?

Like many other mission organizations, Cru does not have central funds to pay for staff and interns. I must find a team of people to partner with me in reaching the students of Paris both prayerfully and financially.

As I take this large step of faith to serve the Lord in ministry overseas, would you prayerfully consider partnering with me to see the Gospel go forth in France?

If you desire to give, there are two options for giving:

  1. Committing to giving an amount monthly while I’m in Paris

  2. Giving a one-time gift

Both options can be done online through my give page:

I pray that you will consider joining my ministry team both prayerfully and financially. At this point, I am extremely close to reaching my goal, but would love help in finishing by next week! If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Email me here!