Yesterday, I highlighted the theme that has popped up over and over again during Road Trip #10 – a theme I like to call “Contexts Conglomeration.”
But my attention to contexts and the various effects they have on college ministry has been on my mind a lot recently. So maybe that’s why I’ve noticed those things so much on this trip.
Why have I been thinking about contexts?
One big reason is that contextualization is one of the key themes of the new book. Recognizing that campuses are like tribes – and that a tribe of Poets is different from a tribe called Chaparrals – is a predominant topic in the book. And why does it matter? Because these tribal differences should affect how we reach those students (even quite dramatically in many cases).
The second reason contextualization has been on my mind is that I was told recently that a particular college ministry methodology would “work on ANY campus and it works fast.” So it’s been interesting to ponder that statement as I’ve encountered such varying contexts – like the ABQ, Malibu (both discussed yesterday), and now West Texas.
ConTechtualization. As I returned to my home state, Lubbock brought more of the Contexts Conglomeration theme. I got to discover how Texas Tech‘s contextuals – things like a very high percentage of Greek involvement, being a geographically isolated school, being very much in the Bible Belt, and much more – affect ministry to the Red Raider tribe. Plus, a few specific encounters brought context front-and-center: chatting with IV Director Sara Scher, who described her process of learning this place just like a missionary would; seeing campus evangelist “Brother Jed” raising the ire of students on campus with a shirt that declared their hell-bound-ness; and chatting about the ministry differences between Lubbock and Huntsville, where BSM Director Jeff Kinnon last served.
The field I once worked. And my last day of exploring was spent in Abilene, fitting for the end of a Contexts-focused trip. Why? This was my own mission field for 5 1/2 years a while back. It was the land in which I began seeing foreign missions principles line up with college ministry in a way I hadn’t recognized before. It was a place of loving some great students and working to provide ministry in ways that connected with their campus tribes. It was (and therefore still is) a very personal context for me.
Certainly, there were some awesome explorations on my trip that didn’t weren’t part of the Contexts Conglomeration. But for whatever reason, this great trip gave me a lot to chew on in that particular area. Good times!