college ministry on a 9-tional stage

One of the great parts of a road trip is finding good ways to use the car-time. Listening to important stuff is one of those best practices.

(If you want updates on the trip itself, you’ll be able to find that each day at the bottom of the post in blue. So even if the posts don’t interest you, the trip updates might!)

It’s not particularly often that college ministry receives focus on a national stage. But as it turns out, this month 9Marks and Mark Dever interviewed Aaron Messner, Chaplain at Covenant College, about how churches can impact college students. And they talk (briefly but favorably) about campus-based college ministries, too. So that’s all three branches – church-based, Christian college, and campus-based college ministry – discussed in one interview. Good times indeed. BIG thanks to my friend Matt Haste for pointing me to this interview.

You can find the interview here: Messner and the 9Marks guys have some really great things to say about college ministry in general. Listening might really be worth your time, especially to give you good fodder for explaining how important college ministry is.

(They talked about several other things, as reflected in the number of categories I’ve put this post in.)

Even if you don’t get to listen, here are some things that struck me as particularly notable:

  1. First, this is a great thing to pass along to your pastor, other local pastors, or other people who need to value college ministry. It could be really influential, especially if they already respect Mark Dever and/or 9Marks.
  2. I was reminded of the awesome perspective Christian college chaplains bring to the table of college ministry. These ministers – more than campus-based or church-based people – are likely to make use of a wide range of materials – Christian, secular, academic, current literature, etc. I saw that time and time again on my big trip.
  3. A great note Messner made: reaching college students doesn’t necessarily require a “cool” pastor. His example, in fact, was the professors on his campus; he said those with the most impact are simply those who are most authentic and relational with the students.
  4. A strong belief in God’s sovereignty fights students’ narcissism. Good word.
  5. They discussed churches not choosing to impact students because they seem them as “migratory birds.” That’s true (about churches) and not a bad word picture, either.
  6. Around the 51-minute mark, they discuss college ministry as similar to missions. What a wonderful thing to hear.
  7. Right at the end, Messner makes a strong point: Even though research is valuable, no matter how much we research college students and this generation, knowing college students requires hanging out with them. He’s right.

Written from Memphis, Tennessee
Yesterday’s T-shirt: the Red Raider tribe of Texas Tech University
Yesterday’s campus visits: Henderson State Univ. and Ouachita Baptist Univ.

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