Starting A Chapter
Interested in Starting a Ratio Christi Chapter?
We would like to thank you for your interest in Ratio Christi. The process of starting a Ratio Christi chapter can be very rewarding. However, we also want you to know that there most likely will be some difficulties involved. But please do not be discouraged by any potential obstacles you may encounter during this process. Thus far God has helped us overcome every obstacle that Ratio Christi has encountered and we believe that He will continue to do so. During this process we would encourage you to continually seek the guidance of our glorious Creator because without Him our endeavors with Ratio Christi would have already failed. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 16 to “look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” This advice from Paul will greatly help you during this process.
Again, we would like to thank you for your desire to help Ratio Christi spread across America. We, as Christians, have allowed the humanist movement to take over our universities and we are delighted that you want to help us bring the worldview of Christianity back into serious discussion in our universities. We would like to leave you with this from the prophet Isaiah: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” The entire concept of Ratio Christi is all about glorifying God, and we must remember that. If you forget this simple truth your efforts will be in vain. However, if during this process you place your hope in God you will not grow weary or be faint as Isaiah tells us.
Guidelines to starting a Ratio Christi chapter
This is the most critical step. First, pray that God would lead you and those working with you in the right direction. It may be that establishing an RC chapter at your university is not within the plan of God, or at least for the moment. We must not confuse our desires and efforts with his will. Without the guidance of God, all of our efforts will be in vain. Pray for wisdom, strength, and the ability to listen to God while you go through this process.
Contact Ratio Christi Staff
If you believe this is a direction God is laying upon your heart, it is our desire at Ratio Christi to help guide you through this process. It is critical that you contact us and we build a relationship before setting out on this adventure.* We have established basic plans for creating a new campus club so we can provide some assistance. Of course, we cannot do everything, but we will provide as much guidance and help as we can. Together, we will need to find a trained apologist to serve as the Chapter Director at your local university. If you know someone who may be interested in this supervisory role, help us contact them for evaluation and approval. This individual should be an experienced apologist (thus, having formative expertise and training) since they will be responsible for leading discussions with both Christians and skeptics on various apologetic topics. In some cases we may appoint an Interim Chapter Director that could be a faculty member or another person if they are willing to become a certified apologist from a program approved by Ratio Christi. A Chapter Director can help guide the chapter through the various steps that need to be taken as the group is established. Contact us here
Contact the University
Either call or go to the university website to look at the requirements that the university has for establishing a new organization on campus. Every campus has different requirements so you need to be aware of the unique requirements of your university. It is preferable to have a student do the communicating with the university if possible as the university will typically respond more positively to a student inquiry than to someone not attending the university.
Contact Other Campus Ministries
This is a very important step. These ministries have already gone through this process so they may be willing to offer assistance and guidance. Also, it is a value of Ratio Christi to support and serve other Christian college ministries. Ratio Christi will not compete with other ministries, but wants to help, support, and develop their members by being a catalyst for apologetics-related discussion of culturally relevant issues related to history, science, philosophy, and theology and ask how they pertain to a biblical worldview and the truth of Christianity. By establishing a good relationship with the other Christian organizations, you will not only be establishing good contacts, but will also be making the process easier.
Find a Faculty Advisor
If you are not a student at the university at which you want to establish a chapter, you will need to contact either a student or faculty/staff member. Without this “in”, you will have very little success in establishing a new chapter. Of course, you will need to have contacts with both students and at least one faculty member for the organization to be successful at your campus, but the initial contact is critical. Most universities require a faculty advisor. Try to locate someone who is in agreement with the vision and mission of Ratio Christi as stated in the constitution. You will normally need to have a faculty advisor before the university recognizes the new chapter. In some cases, a faculty advisor may also serve as a Chapter Director if they meet all the requirements of Ratio Christi. We can help in the process of locating a faculty member.
Find Several People to Help With This Project
This will be much easier for you if you can find a few people to assist with the project. We would suggest several students (ideally five or six), at least one faculty/staff member, and any other local Christians in the community that share your vision and interest to bring apologetics to the campus. The process may be time consuming, so the more help that you can find the better.
Begin Spreading the Word
This can be done in several ways: ask the other Christian ministries to announce that Ratio Christi will be coming to the campus, find interest on Facebook, put up posters, campus radio (typically this is free), and any other form of advertising that you can think of. Ratio Christi will help in whatever way we can (setting up a web site, activating social media for you, providing graphics, etc.), but remember you cannot use Ratio Christi name or logo without permission until you are an affiliated chapter.
As soon as you have a few students who are interested in being a part of Ratio Christi begin meeting. You should be able to find a place to meet on campus before you are officially recognized. There is a good chance that it will take several months to be formally recognized by the university so begin meeting before the process is completed. You may also want to consider doing some fundraising at this time. Ratio Christi will help in whatever way possible, and the designated staff advisor can help in raising funds, but the local chapter will need to raise its basic funds for setup and operation. This will also help students take ownership of the group. Follow all of your university and state guidelines for how to set up accounts at financial institutions, but remember you cannot open an account with the name Ratio Christi - (name of school) until you are affiliated with Ratio Christi.
These students will be critical to the success of the new chapter of Ratio Christi. These students must agree with the constitution of Ratio Christi. Ratio Christi or the Chapter Director will facilitate a discussion with the proposed student leaders to evaluate their readiness for student leadership. The original leaders will mostly likely be selected instead of voted into office.
Create Your Constitution
Ratio Christi provides a constitution that has been reviewed by the Alliance Defense Fund and can be used as a template for creating the required documentation that is needed at most universities. ADF recommends the language in this constitution to protect Ratio Christi’s mission and ensure that its chapters are in the best position to accomplish the mission of Ratio Christi.
However, every university has different requirements for the clubs that operate on campus. This may require some revision to the model Constitution. Many such changes can be accommodated without a problem. However, some universities may require changes to the model constitution that either would not be acceptable or may require some careful attention to ensure that they do not undermine the chapter’s purposes and mission. Thus, you should be especially careful about any changes to the purposes, membership and officer qualifications of the chapter. Any such changes should be reviewed by Ratio Christi staff. The Chapter Director can assist you in this process, and the faculty advisor should be consulted as well.
If you have any questions about any significant change to the model constitution that would be required by your school, have your Campus Director contact Ratio Christi. We will work with you in seeking language that may serve our purposes and also meet any school requirements. At that time, a new constitution will be returned to the chapter with the language inserted. This will need to be adopted by the chapter, signed by the officers and the original returned to Ratio Christi.
Submit Documents to the University
Once the constitution is accepted by Ratio Christi and the university recognizes the new chapter you will have the full benefits of being a recognized club on campus. This includes full use of Ratio Christi name and logos in accordance with the most current policy set by Ratio Christi.
Research the process and fees involved for your campus, and understand what benefits, privileges, and limitations you have as a student group. Try to learn as much as possible about the approval process and be ready to speak to a student or faculty panel if required.
* Again, it is critical that you contact us first. Ratio Christi as an organization must approve of the establishment of a chapter for various reasons, including for legal reasons. Any chapter that starts up without the consent of Ratio Christi and uses the Ratio Christi name, logos, and any other documentation will not be recognized as such, will be disavowed, and can be dealt with within the fullest extent of the law. There is an absolutely critical process by which Ratio Christi chapters must be established and the approval of Ratio Christi staff is the most essential.