Louisiana Tech, my college stop early last week, was the original site of a particularly profound college ministry event. In early 2006, the Love/Hate Experience spent three powerful (and mysterious) weeks at La. Tech, and since that time, other campuses have tried the same “experiment.” It has served as a powerful way for Christian students to connect to those outside the Christian community – while also helping everybody understand each other a whole lot better.As you know, I spent some time last week exploring Ruston, home of Louisiana Tech. While I had heard the details of the Love/Hate experience before, my time in Ruston last week added a whole new dimension to the story. You can see those thoughts below.
First, if you haven’t heard about this event, you’ll want to catch up. If you’re a student or a ministry leader, I encourage you to stick with me – you’re gonna like this one.
There’s a great written overview of the event, as it occurred recently on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. Just check out this article. They’ve got some good pictures, too.
AND/OR, you can watch the “promo video,” including much footage of the Louisiana Tech experience, at this site. (It only worked in Internet Explorer for me, for some reason.) It’s certainly “promo videoish,” but if you’ll watch the whole thing, you’ll get a good picture of the event and its superb effects. They also have a full, high-quality version of the video you can download there, too, but be warned – it’s humongous.
Okay – assuming you’ve at least read the article, here are my notes, now that I’ve gotten to know Ruston a little:
- It’s easy to assume that this sort of “volatile,” opinion-eliciting event would have started on a private, liberal, “high culture” campus – an SMU or Northwestern, for example. Not so! This is a good ol’ public school, with “Tech” right in the name, that draws plenty of home-state and even rural students (like the great “country boy” with tobacco in his bottom lip I met on campus). But these students, like many in this generation, were incredibly ready to give their (strong) opinions when asked for them. And those opinions were powerful in their presentation and profound in the insight they provided.
- This event took some absolutely phenomenal ministry cooperation. 5 churches, the Baptist Collegiate Ministries, and plenty of students came together to pull this thing off. Not easy, but definitely worth it.
- This event was aided by the relationship already built with campus administration, and it ultimately added to that relationship, as well. (What more can you ask for?) I knew about this benefit second-hand already, but then, last week, I had the chance to see it for myself. From the vantage-point of the Dean of Student Life, for instance, this was a phenomenal way to increase communication and otherwise “stir up” a campus that sometimes struggles with its student involvement.
- This event required creativity, vulnerability, and an absolute willingness to “go out on a limb” – not simply from a ministry standpoint, but for every single student involved! Without a doubt! Yet by being willing to think completely outside the box, ministers and their students quite clearly connected with a somewhat “spiritually sleepy” campus. Non-Christians were engaged “with gentleness and respect”; Christians were mobilized, stirred to excitement, and often convicted; and foundations were laid for continued cooperation – among ministries and with the campus itself.
If you’ve read this far, you’d probably be interested in seeing the event played out before your very eyes. You can – because NKU still has the blogs up from earlier this semester. Explore them here – you can click the “Comments” for each of the entries to see some very interesting conversations.
If you’re interested about holding this event on your campus or want even more info, check out this site.