Author Info: A Buffalo native, Natalie Hill is best known for her unique vocals and indie style. Yet it's her heart for seeing students lives transformed by the power and love of Jesus that makes her a quality leader. She serves on the staff team at American University Chi Alpha.
I remember sitting in American University’s Bender Arena on graduation day, listening to my favorite anthropologist and activist speaking to a room full of graduates on the very thing I spent my whole college career studying. I remember wondering how many students were lucky enough to get to hear directly from the people they learned about, studied, and emulated so much throughout college. I remember seeing pictures of friends during their graduation from Georgetown University with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger photobombing in the crowd. I remember reading books in class written by distinguished AU grads or watching them on major news networks or reading their articles in the newspaper and thinking, this city has a lot of influence. And I got to be there.
This phrase “City Heart” has been bouncing around our Chi Alpha offices a lot this year. Honestly it’s a term we’ve been describing for a while, but until this year hasn’t really had a name (and we all know everything sounds better when it has a name). It’s our way of simply saying that we have a heart for this city.
Yes, I work for American University and we have staff at Georgetown and there are Chi Alphas on many different campuses all over the country, but sometimes that makes us forget why we came here in the first place. It was to reach this city. I remember sitting in my commencement ceremony, watching student after student cross the stage, get their diploma, and enter a world where they’d have a lasting impact, one that could affect this nation and even the whole world. They came to Washington, DC because they knew it was a city that produces difference-makers. It’s a city that creates people who will impact the world. I couldn’t help but think I was looking at future CEOs, ambassadors, inventors and innovators, creators of charities that would provide resources for the underprivileged, and the next generation of leaders.
It’s easy to get caught up in the ins and outs of my campus and forget the big picture, which is to reach some of the smartest, driven students in the world and have an impact on the nations. It’s to create an urban hub where we can train leaders and send people out to affect their families, workplaces, governments, cities, and countries. Our dream is that DC could be a place where US missionaries come to train and are sent into other urban places that have yet to be reached. And maybe it can be a place where we can show others that there is a need for ministries in hard places because it can have a deep impact.
I think the city, DC and others, scares people. It’s expensive; it’s harsh; it’s exhausting. The people are hard to reach. They’re smart and often don’t believe in ultimate truth, especially if it’s coming from Christians. It’s a difficult place to raise a family, and it’s a transient place, making it hard to establish community.
“City Heart” is our way of reminding ourselves that it’s worth it. It’s our way of reminding ourselves why we’re here - why we’ve chosen to support raise for a living, why we live in studio apartments or with multiple roommates, why we live in community with other Chi Alpha staff and college students, why we spend some evenings going to Georgetown and praying for other campuses, why our lives are 24/7 surrounded by others, and why we’ve devoted our lives to colleges in Washington, DC. It’s our reminder of why God called us here, no matter the cost, because we know the impact we can have is beyond worth it.
Reach this city. Reach the world. City Heart.
Published on June 29, 2016 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/292wRS0