that crazy bay

Before it’s too long past, here’s a recap of the Bay Area (and Santa Cruz), where I spent the past couple of weeks. Hopefully, these recaps provide a quick look at the “flow” of the trip and a piece of the broad view of Collegiate Ministry around the country.

(You might remember I did a similar recap a couple of weeks ago after the fantastic San Luis Obispo. That post is right here if you’re interested!)

  • I had the awesome opportunity to stay with Steve and Dana Clifford for my week and a half there. Steve is the lead pastor of WestGate Church in San Jose – and is actually my first church worship leader I can remember from our little Bible church in Texas (where Chip Ingram pastored). It’s so amazing to see how God hooks things up on this trip – often through His people.
  • Santa Cruz is the home of Vintage Faith Church, whose teaching pastor is Dan Kimball. He’s one of the big boys in the Emerging Church – in fact, he’s the one who apparently named the movement. In checking out Vintage Faith, my curiosity is now growing about how Collegiate Ministry will be done within these Emerging Church churches. I’ve explored Mosaic (L.A.), Vintage Faith, and now Imago Dei up here in Portland. Then, soon enough, I’ll be at Mars Hill in Seattle – plus there have been other Emerging-style churches along the way. I’m learning fascinating things, including the advantages, difficulties, and tensions these churches have in this area of outreach. More later.
  • I ended up spending a large part of my time at Stanford, actually. It’s an interesting school – more conservative and less presumptuous than you might imagine. Ultra-residential, too, with almost everybody living on campus. The school isn’t closed off to Christian ministries – although there are plenty of barriers to Christianity at this brilliant, elite, ultra-“tolerant” school of future leaders, too. (A portion of my time at Stanford can be attributed to getting lost walking on campus for an hour one night, too. Just a note.)
  • Meanwhile, San Jose turns out to be the 3rd-biggest city in California. Who knew? Yet like many biggo cities I’m seeing on this trip, college ministry appears to be slow in growing there. While certainly some ministries are striving to impact students, the city feels kinda “underreached” in that respect, at least from what I saw and heard. I’m finding that’s pretty common in metro areas.
  • I did get to hang out a little at Cal Berkeley and San Fran. Some of that included scouring the Daily Californian newspaper archives at Berkeley for Jesus Movement stuff from 1967, as well as roaming the Haight-Ashbury district for the same reason. Another bit of time was spent listing to the present Berkeley tree-sitter plot with one of his comrades. (Read this article for a great little slice of that life from Berkeley.)
  • I had a phenomenal and lengthy chat with Dr. Bob Royall, who heads up the D.Min program at Golden Gate Seminary – including a Collegiate Ministry D.Min. He’s been long-connected to collegiate ministry, esp. in the Northwest. So it was great to pick the brain of somebody who’s got that kind of view of the field, and to hear his wisdom on college ministry in California (as I was finishing there), in the Northwest (which is the next exploration), and on the national scene.
  • Food has been an interesting part of this trip – I’ll try to write more about that sometime, too. But it’s worth noting that in the Bay Area, I experienced my first Afghan restaurant, as well as having a pumpkin lamb enchilada at an Indian restaurant “with a Marin Country flavor.” Wowzers. Pumpkin. And lamb. On an enchilada.
  • Like all the places I’ve been, I coulda spent far, far more time in the Bay Area than I did. Still, I didn’t run into nearly as much college ministry around those parts as I had expected to (outside of the college towns of Stanford and Berkeley). As you might imagine, Northern Cal has unique cultural barriers to Jesus’ truth – and the metro setting doesn’t make collegiate ministry easy, either.
  • But, like always, I got to meet some COOL people who are doin’ the work – my heroes. Great guys and gals lovin’ on college students… whether discovered in long-time famous churches like Peninsula Bible and Menlo Park Pres, in national campus-based ministries like Chi Alpha and IV, or in a neato encounter with a 78-year-old German-born former missionary to Japan who’s been ministering to international students at Stanford for 34 years. Who took me to the Faculty Club. Twice.

What a trip!

Written from Motel 6, Tigard, OR (Portland area)

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