a word from the wise

I’m having an excellent time at the NACCM’s National Student Conference, and I’ll write more specifics in the days to come. A superb Q&A with a few dozen campus ministers last night, followed by a great late night Denny’s run, has left me sleep-deficient. So the big updates will have to wait!

But there was one moment yesterday that’s certainly worth mentioning all by itself.

One of the breakout sessions I attended was led by Jim Musser, a college ministry “lifer” who served for 21 years at KU before serving the last 5 or so as director of Appalachian State’s Campus Christian Fellowship. He told us all about their leadership training program for students – a solid session, and not unlike others that might occur at similar conferences.

At the end, he offered to email us the full run-down of their program. But, he added a request: once we got it, he said, he’d love for us to send any thoughts or suggestions we had on how they could improve it.

Can you imagine? This “Vessel Group” program is a cornerstone of their ministry, something they’ve been tinkering with for a few years, borne out of two-and-a-half decades of college ministry expertise – and he wants our suggestions?

That little comment – very sincere but easy to miss – perhaps surprisingly echoes a sentiment I have heard repeatedly from college ministry “lifers” across the Christian spectrum. In fact, the minute he said it, I was reminded of how many times I’ve heard other lifers say very similar things. For one thing, I have been amazed – and a little embarrassed – by how many times similar college ministers I’ve been interviewing have asked about what I’ve learned in my travels.

What I’VE learned? These people have been doing this for decades… but they’re still interested in what this young road-tripper… or a classroom of seminar attendees… or the rookie college minister… or the students themselves can offer. They’re LEARNERS, even though they, of all people, have the right to be TEACHERS.

And in this, they put many of us to shame.

I hope we’ll pay attention to these words from these wise people. Let us who are still early in our college ministry voyage be learners now, and let us still be learners then.

My guess is that by choosing the former, we’ll be wise enough later on to keep on choosing.

Written from University of Southern Indiana, Newman dorm room 316

Road Trip #12 update (Day 3)
yesterday’s T-shirt: the Antelope tribe of Grand Canyon University

We ended up holding the Q&A last night, and it was superb, as I said above. Thanks for your prayers. Two days left, and these guys and gals have been incredible hosts – remember, I’m just an attendee (not a speaker or anything), and an “outsider” at that. But they’ve treated me like family.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the post, Ben. I’ve been working with college students for a long time. The thing for me is that the more I learn the more I realize I don’t know. So, it seems, with age comes this gradual waking-up to how much more there is to know and to learn in ministry, as well as realizing how much we need each other in the body of Christ to really be effective and growing.

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