If you are looking for a Christian group, we hope this helps you with your initial selection of possibilities. Christian life at USC is amazing! We have very many Christian clubs, so choosing one can be confusing. If you’d like some guidance about which one might be right for you, contact Rev. Jim Burklo, Senior Associate Dean of Religious Life or Bekah Estrada, co-Director of Christian Life. The Christian Life Team fosters coordination and cooperation among our 50+ Christian clubs.
In addition to doctrinal differences among these clubs, there are differences in the programs and events that they offer. Each club has a unique mix that may include Bible study, community service, worship/prayer, fellowship/fun, and evangelism/proselytizing. What “mix” is right for you? Odds are, you’ll find the club that matches!
A cautionary: Many Christian groups on campus engage in discipling, in which staff or student leaders meet one-on-one with students to teach and guide them. Set your own boundaries about the level of engagement you want to have with any campus group and its members or staff. (Look HERE for information about problematic high-pressure practices in religious groups on campus.)
Evangelical or “Non-Denominational” Protestant Christian
Evangelicals include fundamentalist Christians who interpret the Bible in a very literalistic way, and are on a continuum with other evangelicals who interpret it literally in some cases and symbolically in others. Some evangelical clubs represent particular Protestant denominations, and others do not. The term “non-denominational” is often used by evangelical or fundamentalist churches which are not affiliated with larger organizations, or which are affiliated with larger organizations that do not consider themselves to be distinct “denominations”.
See the full list of evangelical clubs HERE
Catholics are Christians who follow the historic rites of the Roman Catholic Church, with the Pope as the head of the Church. The “apostolic succession” of priests and bishops is the primary source of authority for Catholics. The focus of Catholic life at USC is the Caruso Catholic Center, just a block from campus.
Orthodox Christianity has the same roots and basic traditions as the Catholic (Roman) Church, but with a distinctive set of doctrines and liturgical practices.
Progressive (Liberal Protestant)
Progressive Christians “take the Bible seriously because they don’t have to take it literally”, do not have a fixed doctrine, are especially focused on peacemaking and social justice, and are fully affirming of LGBTQ sexuality and same-sex marriage.
The Episcopal or Anglican Church is an offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church, practicing a worship liturgy very similar to it and an organizational structure much like the Catholic and Orthodox, but with priests who can marry; its members and priests hold a wide range of interpretations of its doctrines.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church based on the Bible and on the Book of Mormon, revealed by the Angel Moroni to the prophet Joseph Smith in the early 19th century.