Small signs with the phrase “I Am Second” appeared on campus in late March, echoing billboards throughout the Dallas area.
John Humphrey is communications director for E3 Partners, the organization responsible for the movement, which encourages Christians to share stories about their beliefs and put themselves “second” to Jesus.
Humphrey said E3 Partners created the movement as a local resource for the Dallas area, but has extended outreach internationally, receiving Web site views from 187 countries.
Since the launch of iamsecond.com four months ago, more than 750,000 people have viewed the Web site, which features stories and video clips of celebrities and non-celebrities sharing personal stories about faith, Humphrey said. The most watched video is of Korn guitarist Brian Welch recounting his path to Christianity
UTD Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) director Beth Smith said all seven of the Christian student organizations on campus are promoting “I Am Second” at UTD.
“This really is the first thing that we’ve all done together on campus,” Smith said.
The focus at UTD will be on small discussion groups formed with a facilitator from one of the Christian student organizations, she said. They will meet at different times beginning April 13 will continue for three weeks.
Computer science master’s student Blake Smith, along with Beth Smith, was responsible for bringing “I Am Second” to UTD. Blake Smith said it was a simple but powerful way to initiate spiritual discussions on campus.
“(This) is a movement to inspire people to share their story,” Blake Smith said. “We all come from different situations, some happy, some not, but no matter what our background, God gives us a hope for the future.”
BSM campus missionary Rusty Reams said he drifted away from religion in high school.
“When I was 16, I thought the church was hypocrisy,” Reams said. “I had a lot of animosity towards the church. If you would have told me (then) that I would be working with students and sharing Christ with them, I would have laughed at you,”
He said his perspective changed when he attended a bible study that made Christianity seem authentic. Reams is sharing his story as part of “I Am Second.”
Software engineering junior Ryan Plauche, a member of the Fellowship of Christian University Students, said having a narrative is important to having faith.
“You can’t give someone faith,” Plauche said. “It’s something they have to find for themselves. (Having religion, but not faith) is like dancing without music.”
By Alex Ransom