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  • We are a global fellowship of college and university students, as well as campus ministry leaders, asking the messy questions of faith, finding grace and humility in the search for understanding, and believing there is more value in curious questioning than static absolutes.

  • We orient our lives as followers, students, or disciples of Jesus, striving through our actions and compassion to embody God’s kin-dom here on Earth. In that spirit, we join with Jesus in embodied solidarity with those who are marginalized in society, striving for peace and social justice, and defending the natural beauty of Earth. 

  • We are committed to interfaith relationships and multi-faith collaboration, believing that we can learn from and find truth in diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey, across Christian denominations, within the world's diverse religions, in secular science and other academic disciplines, through the arts and activism, and in contemplative practices.

  • We strive towards radical belonging and community, seeking a community that is inclusive and affirming towards all peoples, including but not limited to:

    • People of all gender identities and sexualities, including all LGBTQ+ folks

    • Conventional Christians and those who are not 

    • Believers and agnostics

    • People of all races and ethnicities

    • People of all classes and abilities

    • Those who have been historically marginalized by Christianity

  • ZOE is ecumenical (bridging across the boundaries of Christian denominations) and rooted in Christian faith and practice, engaged in social justice, and dedicated to the pursuit of global delight.

  • ZOE is the primary project of Progressive Christians Uniting, a nonprofit organization that for a quarter of a century has mobilized progressive Christians to action for environmental, racial, LGBTQI+, and economic justice.  ZOE was founded by Brian McLaren, noted author and blogger, Jim Burklo, former Sr Assoc Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at the University of Southern California, and Jessica Wang, former student co-leader of Yale Progressive Christians.   PCU's board, its volunteer executive director, Jim Burklo, and its volunteer associate director, Jon Carl Lewis, oversee ZOE's work.  Students and campus ministry professionals from different denominations volunteer to create events and resources for the ZOE network.


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For some time, progressive Christian leaders have lamented the lack of a national, ecumenical campus ministry network that could offer a lively alternative to theologically, socially, and politically conservative Christianity for students at universities and colleges.  Most students assume that all the Christians on campus are anti-LGBTQ+, anti-other religions, anti-choice, and anti-science.


Several robust, well-funded, well-branded national fundamentalist/evangelical campus ministry networks exist. Most are non-denominational, attracting students from many different evangelical affiliations.  They are conservative theologically and socially, and often politically as well. With few exceptions, their campus ministries have minimal constructive engagement with issues of social justice, LGBTQ+ equality, environmental responsibility, religious pluralism, and peacemaking. Their theological assumptions often inhibit intellectual engagement with issues of science, history, philosophy, and sociology.  Politically conservative activists and funders understand the importance of recruiting college students into their movement, and these networks serve as a front door.


Thriving campus ministries in mainline Protestant denominational networks also exist, often with university chaplaincy support.  These engage more constructively with social or intellectual issues, and they thoughtfully and critically engage with our faith and discipleship with Jesus. However, without an overarching, inter-denominational organization to provide brand identity, resources, networking, and funding, progressive Christian student ministries are often left isolated and hard to find.


ZOE is creating a new, clearly branded campus ministry network that embodies the spiritual engagement, intellectual freedom, and commitment to social justice long associated with progressive campus ministries. It is fully LGBTQ+ affirming, eager to collaborate for the common good with other religious and nonreligious groups, and dedicated to equipping Christian disciples who will be lifelong contemplative activists dedicated to spiritual vitality, social justice, environmental responsibility, and peacemaking.


We aim to draw together students who identify as progressive evangelicals or post-evangelicals, progressive Catholics, and mainline Protestants, along with students from historic Black churches, Asian churches, peace churches, Latinx churches, and more. We aim to help students find a home and way of life in a generous, generative Christian faith.

To grow our network and support our campus ministries, we need your help.  You can donate HERE and you can contact us HERE to offer volunteer help and suggestions.  Unlike most evangelical campus ministry networks, we do not raise money from our affiliate campus ministries.  We rely primarily on individual donations.

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