Illinois State University
Brent Stong is from Andover, MN and has been on staff since 2016 at his alma mater, Bradley University in Peoria,IL. Brent and his wife, Morgan, are excited to move to Bloomington and be a part of the newest addition to Campus Outreach Central Illinois at Illinois State University in the Fall of 2017.
Brent grew up in a christian home, going to church almost every Sunday. For the first 10 or so years of his life, Brent went to a Roman Catholic church, and then switched to an Evangelical Free church. He never questioned the existence of God, and because of going to church and his conscience, Brent knew that there had to be a God, and he wanted to know Him. But Brent wanted to know Him on his own terms, and the God that he chose to believe in was a God of only love and forgiveness and kindness as displayed in the Bible. For most of his life, that's all Brent really knew of God - a few of his attributes, until after his freshman year of high school. At a summer Christian camp, Brent got to understand that he was sinful and he needed a savior from his sins. And that the answer was Jesus paid for our sins on the cross! But it never went further than that. From there on Brent would have said that Jesus died on the cross for his sins, but if someone were to have asked him "how do you respond to what Jesus has done for you?", Brent wouldn't have had an answer for you. Then his freshman year at Bradley, Brent met some students and staff who were a part of Campus Outreach. They invited him to a Bible study they had started with a few other baseball players. Through this Bible study, Brent started to learn more about God, but what he really learned was how much the CO staff and students loved God, and loved the Bible. How much joy they had in their lives because of God also stood out to him. They really cared about Brent and his relationship with God.
This Bible study continued into the spring, and it became an athlete-wide bible study. And Brent got to see how much other Bradley athletes loved God. What was going on in his heart was "my life is full of sin, and your life is full of joy. I don't want sin anymore, I want the relationship with God that you have." Sometime during the Spring of Brent's freshman year, he learned how to respond to the question "how do you respond to what Jesus has done for you?" and he responded. Brent learned that Jesus wanted him to receive Him as his savior and his lord (a willful submission to obey they way God has commanded us to live in the Bible). Brent learned that God is not just a God of love, forgiveness, and kindness, but of justice, righteousness, and wrath. Brent was a guilty sinner who deserved to spend eternity separated from God, but because of Jesus' finished work on the cross, he can have eternal life instead of eternal death.