by Joshua Erlien, UNCC Chapter Director
I came to the first meeting not quite sure what to expect. The session was run by the interim director; a young athletic fellow with the characteristic little goatee common today. He was teaching on the tenets and factions of Islam. Very comfortable with speaking to the group, he was articulate and poised.
In the following weeks, I was trying to get a feel for the group and if it was a good fit for me to serve here as director. It became evident that this young man, Jordan Slusher, was a significant player in the group. Week after week as I watched Jordan co-lead and teach, I was more and more impressed. I commented to my wife, “The more I get to know this kid, the more impressed I am.”
I was still getting to know Jordan, when we lost him. No, not lost…as someone at the funeral said, “You cannot call someone lost, if you know where they are.” He was received into the embrace of the Savior following a hiking accident on June 9, 2012. I knew he was an exceptional young man, but I didn’t know the half of it. Here is some of what I received from our Ratio Christi Student President:
I met Jordan during my freshman year in English class. I can still remember going with him and two other friends to Chick-fil-a for the first time. Sometime during that first semester, I invited him to Ratio Christi. Jordan came and hit it off. He absolutely loved it. He always had something new to add to the conversation. He never repeated what others had said. Jordan had such an insight into God’s Word, evidence of the time he spent walking with the Lord in his own personal life outside of our club.
Jordan had a particular passion for reasoning with atheists. Not only that, but he would look at a Christian’s response and find the best way to improve it, all while making sure that his witness was solid. One of Jordan’s most common comments was that we have to be careful of what we say so that we don’t turn the person away from Christianity. He’d say time and time again to “Win the person, not the argument” and that it was more about building a relationship with the person than to convince them of your beliefs. That is something I really admire about Jordan.
From Jordan, I learned that most religions have truth in them, but Christianity is the only salvational truth. And he really lived like he believed that. Jordan had a way of talking to people so that they understood that he respected them and their beliefs, but he also made it clear that Jesus was the most important part of his life. He never shoved his faith down anyone’s throat. He truly embodied the calling that Peter gave us in 1 Peter 3:15. “In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Jordan was such a great mentor to me and taught me so much about what it means to be a Christian. He was such a great example of someone who truly lived out Christ’s life. He will be sorely missed.
At the funeral, many young people stood up and testified how Jordan had been a true friend to them. He had made them feel like they were important, even when others didn’t think so. And he was always talking about Christ, trying to persuade everyone to trust God. One of his friends said it best. Through his tears, he said something like this.
I went to Georgia Tech for a couple semesters and I lost my way. I lost God. When I came back to Charlotte, Jordan wanted to hang out with me. I didn’t know why… He invited me to come to church and I came a few times. Then I started coming more regularly. He helped me find my way back to God.
I didn’t know anything about Jordan’s home life until the week of the funeral. The picture that emerged was one of a family that really loved Christ, a father who is a very engaged spiritual leader, and a mother devoted to the Savior. Their home seemed to be a hub of activity and a home for spiritual formation. Another young man shared at the funeral, “I got saved the first time I visited one of the nightly Bible studies [in the Slusher home].”
It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. Now I began to see the way God had used Jordan’s family to form the intelligent, winsome, engaging, Christ-centered young man that I met that first night so many weeks ago. Jordan was active in promoting RC events and engaging people in conversations that count. His generous friendship and winning smile will be missed by many. But now the tables are turned and it is he who is being smiled upon, by the One who fashioned him for His own glory. I think Jordan would agree, “Soli Deo Gloria!”