The mood inside Florida State University’s Moore Auditorium was one of quiet excitement as members of FUSE milled around the lobby, waiting. It was the same atmosphere that characterizes crowds waiting for a concert to begin or for a movie to start.
These students were not waiting for an event of that kind. They were waiting to lose their religion. They were waiting for ministry to begin.
FUSE is the college ministry of the nondenominational Genesis Church. Based at FSU, FUSE is an organization that prides itself on being just as unique as its new slogan: “Lose Your Religion.”
While members admitted that the slogan depicted a controversial message, they were quick to explain.
“What we’re trying to say is lose those ideas of what you think Christianity is,” said FUSE volunteer Dylan Chase, a junior biological science student.
“Lose your old religion where you got hurt in your church where you used to go. Lose all those aspects of your religion that you feel hurt you.”
Junior music student Kaleb Delk added that the organization was about learning to not rely strictly on traditions to communicate with God, but to develop a personal relationship of one’s own.
FUSE’s mission was designed in part as a way of combating the perception of Christians that the FUSE website described as “self-righteous and hypocritical.”
Alyssa Nolting, member of the Leadership Team and sophomore nursing student, knew exactly what she wanted from newcomers.
“I just want them to learn how to be closer to God…and that Christians aren’t all hypocritical, because you see people who are Christian just going out and getting drunk so people get the entirely wrong idea.”
FUSE’s motto focuses most of its attention on living a life pleasing to Jesus.
Its website states “What matters is Jesus. Who He is, what He said, what He did. We believe Jesus is God, that He inspired the Word, and that following Him is worth whatever we have. Everything else is just religion. And religion bites.”
The ideologies that FUSE is built on are not the only characteristics that set it apart from other Christian organizations.
The sermons are discussion-based and led by the lead pastor, Brian Hunter, allowing attendees to make comments, ask questions and interact with one another during the meeting.
Despite the determination of FUSE’s members to practice religion on their own terms, they do not completely shun the Christian traditions, especially that of evangelism.
“Our main goal is to bring people closer to God,” Nolting said. “We mainly focus on people who are kind of on the fence of whether to believe or not … but instead of trying to force the religion on them, we try to get them to see what they want and take what they want out of it.”
FUSE is open to FAMU and FSU students and takes place on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in FSU’s Moore Auditorium.
“It’s totally unjudging and comforting,” said Brittany Wood, a junior environmental studies student. “Everyone’s really friendly and the coffee’s really good. I’d definitely recommend that people come.”