annie lennox, double balconies, and college ministry ideas

This will be a very quick update.

Starting Saturday night, I attended 5 church services across 27 hours. I’ve been to 2 different orientations (at the same school campus), a church fair with 32 churches, and all over the northern, western, and Downtown parts of Chicago. It feels just like I’m walkin’ on broken glass. Oh wait – I did that, too (walked on broken glass – read about it in this post). All part of the adventure. Now I’m pretty worn out – it’s 12:20 in the AM on Sunday night / Monday morning.

Quick observations that I have found interesting so far:

  • It was difficult to locate very many Sunday night services, but Saturday night services are abundant.
  • It was even more difficult to find churches with collegiate Sunday schools, but mid-week small groups (of either college students or collegian-including “Young Adults”) are abundant.
  • Two of the five church messages were read (or at least outlines were followed extremely closely). Four were part of series. Two were on evangelism.
  • The sanctuary at Willow Creek feels far smaller than I thought it would, at least on the 1st floor. Not exactly arena-like, in other words. It does have a double-balcony, though.
  • I saw a total of five video clips across the five services.
  • I learned that VW bus front windows flip out (thanks to the Steven Curtis Chapman video).
  • Garmins make the whole world brighter. At least on a year-long Road Trip.
  • The highways are bumpy. And yet they charge regularly to drive on them.
  • In Chicago, you can easily end up late to church. Even with a Garmin.

More details tomorrow. Hopefully.

Meanwhile, later on this week (after the fourth church fair or so), I’ll post some college ministry ideas, specifically in the area of recruiting in “church fairs” and the like. How can your church stick out? Are there simple, helpful “dos” and “don’ts”? Some of you have far more to offer in this area than I do (and the Comments section is always wide open for you to post additional ideas), but I figured I might as well post what I’ve seen – that’s what this blog is for, right? [That later post can be found here.]

Thanks for readin’!


  1. Ben,
    I’m so fired up to read what you are writing. Its fresh and adventurous and I love it completely. I’d be interested to know which sermons you like better. The read or not read ones? Also did you feel the video’s enhanced or limited to sermons? Why, either way? This is so great man. So great! By the way. I love Chicago with all my heart.

  2. Ben,
    My therapist told me not to handle sharp objects, I think the same logic would follow when walking on glass. Good to hear you made it to chi-town alright. I will be praying for you through out your trip. So keep blogging because I get bored easily while at work. Also there is a US vs. Brazil match in Chicago sometime next month. If you got spare room in your truck, I’d take you to it. (When folded properly I fit nicely behind a wheel well). Take care. If you need anything don’t hesitate to ask.

  3. Kirk – thanks, bro! Good to hear from you.

    I probably naturally liked the not-read sermons better. But I just haven’t been exposed to the read ones too much at all. One of them was really like reading a seminar paper, which was kinda interesting.

    The videos weren’t all within the messages, but when they were, I felt like they generally helped. They definitely got my attention. And I was wrong – there were actually 6 videos in the 5 services. I remembered another one last night.

    Dave – Awesome to hear from you, too. I’ve been enjoying reading the emails & hope the studies have gone well. All about the soccer game if you want to come up here! :)

  4. Joanne


    Glad to hear that you made it to Chicago and are already hitting the city hard. Just listening to all that you have already done is making me tired. I don’t know if I have ever heard of sermons being read, very interesting. I need to hear this “walking on broken glass” story! You are always up to something crazy. I am praying for you and miss you already! I should be coming to Chicago later this year, do you know when you change cities?

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