a telling question

Since the beginning of my daily blogging (and in the book), I’ve argued that college ministry is best approached missiologically (which I think is more than just “missionally,” but I’ll write about that some other time).

If I was going to evaluate whether a college ministry – even my own college ministry – was functioning like a missions effort, I would start with one telling question:

What are the cultural characteristics of the campus(es) you’re reaching?

My ability to answer that question – deeply, wisely, knowledgeably, uniquely – says a lot about how missiological my ministry has the opportunity to be.

Knowing the campus tribe extensively and deeply doesn’t make my college ministry a missions effort. But there’s no way I’ll build my best campus mission without it.


  1. Casey McCollum

    I think you are right on track with thinking missiologically about campus ministry (ever read Leslie Newbigin? He is a great conversation partner for this kind of thinking)
    Here’s my question – would you say the same for Christian schools? In my mind I come back to people like McLaren who are helping us (insider Christians) rethink the Gospel and this is where Christian campus ministry can help – they can challenge their students to broaden/deepen their understanding of faith, and maybe even a bit of deconstruction.

  2. Good words, for sure.

    I would say the same for Christian schools, because I think we’ve got to be on top of things contextually at those schools as much as any others.

    Unless somebody really gets to know their “tribe” – whether it’s the Wheaton Thunder or the Maryland Terrapins – there’s no way they’re going to know what kind of impact the students need most. Even the way we’re going to challenge/deepen/deconstruct will change based on the campus, because even among Christian schools there are some big differences.

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