“I was a fraternity member, into alcohol and drug abuse and bad sexual relationships with girls,” he recalled.
He said his life took a dramatic turn for the better when he met a representative from Campus Outreach on his Samford University campus in Birmingham.
“He started a Bible study group in our fraternity house,” Weber said. “It was the first time I really understood the Gospel and the message of Christ. Through my relationship with him, I came to know Christ in my junior year.”
Weber received his B.S. degree in history and was on track to attending law school and becoming an attorney. However, he found his life goals were changing.
“I just started to reminisce and evaluate my life,” he said. “I looked at where my time had been well spent and where I was wasting time. I discovered the times I wouldn’t trade were the times I had been helping young students grow and develop spiritually.”
Weber came to Carrollton after his graduation to work for Campus Outreach on the University of West Georgia campus.
“Working for Campus Outreach gave me a chance to work at where my passion was,” he said. “It brought a change in my life.”
Campus Outreach is a worldwide interdenominational Christian organization, focusing on evangelism with college students. Its mission statement is, “Glorifying God by building laborers on the campus in a lost world.” It is based on Matthew 28:19-20, as well as Jesus’ lament about the lack of “working laborers” in Matthew 9:35-38.
The organization was founded in 1978 in Birmingham under the auspices of Briarwood Presbyterian Church of Birmingham. The first ministry outside Birmingham began in 1981 and several other ministries have sprung up throughout the southeastern U.S., but also in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand and Brazil.
Campus Outreach is a nonprofit organization supported by contributions from individuals and churches in the areas where it operates.
Weber said what makes Campus Outreach unique is that it is centered among campus activities, reaching out to students, and its presence is not a building on campus.
“If you go to the typical college campus, college ministries will have houses on the periphery of the campus,” he said. “They have a philosophy that students will come to them. We don’t have a house, but we’re big on reaching out to students. We feel our headquarters is the center or mainstream of the university.”
Weber said Campus Outreach at UWG focuses on three primary areas — campus dormitories, athletics and Greek life fraternities and sororities.
He said this focus is through three types of activities — Campus Outreach meetings, Bible studies and one-on-one conversations.
“We hold our Campus Outreach meetings on Wednesday evenings,” he said. “They’re usually held in a lecture hall and we have a lot of student involvement. They plan the meeting, often having games or videos, and myself, or somebody else in my group, will talk on a certain scripture or Bible verse.”
Weber said the meetings sometime have student led music or students sharing their testimonies on what God is doing in their lives. Attendance is usually about 200 students.
“We lead Bible studies all over campus,” he said. “We believe in leadership development so we give students ownership of the ministry.”
He said the study groups usually consist of about five to 15 students, meeting in frat houses, locker rooms or dorms. The conversations are on various scriptures.
“Everything is in a comfortable, laid back environment,” he said. “We seek out students who are leaders and influencers on campus.”
Finally, Weber said the way his group spreads the message of Christianity is through one-on-one conversations.
“We meet with students to process what it means to be a Christian,” he said. “We want to learn about them, what they like and what they want to be in the future.”
Weber said Campus Outreach is committed to evangelism and outreach.
“Often the ones we pursue are the wild ones, those living a wild lifestyle,” he said. “There’s a cliche in Christian circles, ‘What would Jesus do?’ We look at Jesus’ life and see that he spent his time with tax collectors and sinners. We try to do something similar and seek people who wouldn’t feel comfortable in a church setting.”
Weber said he spends a lot of ministry time with athletes.
“I go to practices, lift weights with them and travel to away games,” he said. “I lead a pre-game devotional and lead a coaches’ group with the football and basketball teams.”
Weber said the idea is not to just develop football players as athletes, but to develop them as men and leaders.
“From my perspective, it would be a missed opportunity if a guy came to the football program, got better at football, but didn’t grow better in the game of life,” he said. “The best case scenario is they’re going to play football for three or four years. We want to set them up for success long after their playing days are over.”
In addition, Weber added that Campus Outreach is about discipleship, following the example of Jesus.
“We try as best we can to influence our student leaders,” he said. “We lead discipleship groups with about five players. Then they help develop others. This is what we call the power of multiplication.”
Weber emphasized that as area director, he’s not the only member of Campus Outreach at UWG.
“I have three full-time staff workers, Josh Etress, Hamilton Phillips and Lindsay Ellenburg, and countless other student volunteers,” he said. “They are an integral part of the Campus Outreach team and this organization would not be successful apart from their service.”
More information on UWG Campus Outreach is available by calling Weber at 205-902-4667. He can also be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The international organization website is www.campusoutreach.org and the Birmingham website, www.cobirmingham.org.