Fusion USA

Hey! We're Miriam, Lauren, Claire and Brandon (who goes by "Shook") and we are the Fusion USA team! Fusion in the United States received our 501c3 nonprofit status in 2021 so we're just a couple of years old but we've hit the ground running! We're eager to equip churches to love, reach, and disciple college students in the USA and are grateful to bring over the best practices from Fusion's 25 year history in Europe.


What's the reality?

Our mission at Fusion is for every college student to find hope in Jesus and home in the local church. The university mission field is a vast and vital one. Every year, the 4,195 universities and colleges in the United States that represent mini cities within cities and subcultures of society welcome millions of young people into their land. College brings a new culture, a new stage of life, new community, new influences, new opportunities and often new geographical homes as well. There is something uniquely daunting and exciting about the experience of starting college as a young adult. Too many students are beginning college without discipleship that prepares them for this life change, and without a connection to the local church. This unprepared and disconnected beginning can have a devastating effect on their entire lives. According to Barna, roughly 70% of high school students who enter college as professing Christians, will leave with little to no faith. And that’s just the young adults who are transitioning from church youth groups. For the thousands of young people starting college with no experience of faith or awareness of the good news of Jesus, what hope do they have? Who is available to welcome them on the campus? As they search for a place to belong, are there any communities of faith ready to welcome and embrace them? It is vital we reach this generation with an invitation into the Kingdom and begin to disciple them during this especially important and vulnerable time in their lives.

Barna Research conducted a 2022 study of Gen Z and based on their findings named them the “Open Generation.” This generation admires Jesus for his compassion, forgiveness, and care for others. Of the 52% who identify as Christian, only 22% say they have a personal relationship with Jesus. If you’ve seen the news over the past few weeks, there have been spontaneous baptisms on college campuses across the nation. Over 200 Auburn students rushed into the lake for impromptu baptisms as their football coach lends a hand at a “Unite Auburn” event last month and hundreds of students have been baptized at Texas A&M, Baylor, and the University of Kansas. Off the back of the pandemic and Asbury University outpouring in February, we have this sense that the harvest is ripe and ready to be harvested. Are we ready for them? They are wonderfully creative and energetic, but also the most lonely and fatherless and anxiety-ridden generation we’ve seen. Are our churches ready to welcome, disciple and release them?


What do we want to see?

Our prayer is that college students find hope in Jesus, belonging in a local church family, and grow into being released as leaders in their local churches, student organizations, and communities. One of the greatest needs of this generation is to be welcomed into family and there’s a real invitation to “place the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6). Among Gen Z, despite being “connected” digitally they are reported to have the highest levels of loneliness at 48.3%. They are hungry for family, they come from fatherless homes, and they really just simply want to be seen and loved. In 2019, Barna released research about the emerging generation and cited that the #1 reason young adults leave the church is insufficient discipleship. We need the older generations to pass down their wisdom to young adults, whether that is in the workplace, in our relationships and marriages, or simply in what it means to follow Jesus in day-to-day living. Today’s young adults can help our older generations become energized and excited about engaging our culture and the many new challenges which it brings. Our vision is for every college student to find hope in Jesus and home in the local church.


What are we doing about it?

The role of local churches making disciples of college students has been largely missing for a number of reasons, ranging from; assumptions that on-campus ministries and parachurch organizations are doing it all, so the call to discipleship is outsourced for the college years; feelings of inadequacy in a local congregation to reach young adults effectively; lack of awareness of the need at all or no imagination for how wonderful young adults participating in church life can be. With years of stories and statistics that tell of a “missing generation” of young adults from our congregations, and the increasing disconnect of young people finding local churches as places they can belong, we recognize churches need help in changing the story and becoming the intergenerational body of Christ we are called to be. This is why we are responding with practical, sustainable and relational help through our coaching community cohorts, student-led small group training, webinars, and resources. Our work is focused on equipping and sharpening local church practice. We cultivate environments for peer-learning, reflective practice and accountability towards increasing fruitfulness in local church student mission. Some churches we work with are at the very beginning of having a vision for reaching college students and so we help initiate and create this new focus. For other churches with more established young adult ministries, Fusion’s work often acts as a sharpening missional partner, helping bring challenge, progress and direction towards making disciples of unreached college students.


How can we help you?

If you lead graduating high school seniors, Prep for College Manager Claire Hart would love to talk to you about Fusion's Prep for College Program. If your denomination would like to be trained by Fusion, connect with Brandon Shook, our Manager of Partners and Networks. If your local church would like to learn more, Director of Church Engagement Lauren Hansen would love to chat with you. Director of Fusion USA Miriam Swanson is excited to meet you too when she returns from maternity leave :)

For more updates, follow @hellofusionusa and check out www.fusionusa.us/training for free upcoming webinars this winter.

Fusion Team

The vision of Fusion is to see every student have the opportunity to find hope in Jesus and home in the local church during their time at university. Written by the Fusion Team & friends of Fusion, the Fusion blog is full of tips, resources, and stories that will equip and inspire you to play your part in the student mission narrative.