That potentially transforming idea?
It’s important to decide what you (as a college minister) believe about local church involvement.
It would be easy to assume one of two things at this point:
- This idea only matters for church-based college ministers, because campus-based college ministries and Christian colleges don’t deal directly with “church.”
- This idea only matters for campus-based college ministers and ministers at Christian colleges, because church-based ministers have “church” figured out.
But I disagree on both counts! After interviewing hundreds of college ministers from the various branches of college ministry, I can say that one of our most prevalent traits appears to be a lack of ecclesiology. I don’t mean we have bad ecclesiology… I mean we have little ecclesiology! Many college ministers simply haven’t done much work to decide what we honestly believe students’ church involvement should look like – both now and in their future years.
Meanwhile, students themselves seem to have no idea what to think about church or what the Bible might or might not say about this area. This includes those who happen to be plugged in to church-based college ministries.
But wait! The main enduring community available to these students over their lifetime will probably be some form of “church.” Plus, it does seem that the New Testament demands involvement in the Body of Christ… and even includes some rules and principles for that involvement.
If that is true, then churchmanship (an old-school but awesome word) is a really important topic to discuss with students, in no small part because it prepares them for living in Christian community for the rest of their entire lives. Churchmanship is even more key, perhaps, than some of what we feel inclined to teach or some of what they feel inclined to learn.