why don’t we see this more?

I had the neat chance yesterday to meet with Kevin Twit and Syneva Colle, staff members of the RUF chapter at Belmont University. Kevin is the 14-year director of the ministry.

But aside from the fact that all college ministries are worth getting to know, this one has a particular claim to fame. It’s the home base for Indelible Grace.

Indelible Grace Music is dedicated to pairing old hymns (and Scripture) with more contemporary music. As Kevin writes on their site,

Our hope is to help the church recover the tradition of putting old hymns to new music for each generation, and to enrich our worship with a huge view of God and His indelible grace.

Indelible Grace Music grew out of ministering to college students, primarily through Reformed University Fellowship (RUF). We saw many touched by the gospel, and gripped by the rich theology and great poetry of the hymns of the Church. As these students began to taste more of the depth of the gospel and the richness of the hymn tradition, many began to join the music of their culture with the words of our forefathers (and mothers!), and a movement was born.

(Read the whole IDM philosophy here.)

Indelible Grace’s music has been widely distributed, apparently; not only have they sold 50,000 CDs but the songs make up the official “RUF Hymnbook,” and their lyrics/music are available for free online. There’s more – including a touring band that I believe has led worship at multiple Ivy Jungle conferences.

In other words, from the efforts and talents of one ministry arose innovation that helped RUFs throughout the country – and other ministries, too.

It’s probably no surprise that this particular innovation arose from

  • A school dedicated to Music and Music Business education
  • A ministry situated in the middle of Nashville
  • A campus minister with a Music and Music Business background
  • Ministry years that just happened to include participation by the Jars of Clay guys, Sandra McCracken, and other future music notables.

But I would argue that innovative practices or resources that have nationwide impact should REGULARLY come forth from

  • College ministries.

Clearly, what Indelible Grace has done is awesome, and I don’t mean to diminish that at all. But we who serve college campuses are on the frontlines of new generations, on the frontlines of culture, and in situations that (should) force radical creativity and (should) promote radical community and cooperation. It seems that we should see examples of this kind of advancement pop up here and there, time after time, from developed college ministries all over the country. Not 100 a year, obviously. But I figure we should see this kind of thing more.

Just a thought.

Written from Motel 6, Brentwood, TN

Road Trip #12 update (Day 8)
Yesterday’s T-shirt: Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

All the explorations of this trip (so far) can be seen here.

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2 Comments

  1. I agree – and I think it’s happening more than people realize. A lot of innovative ministry has been/is being generated in the college context:
    * InterVarsity Press
    * NavPress
    * The Four Spiritual Laws – Campus Crusade
    * The Four Circles method of evangelism – http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/july/11.31.html
    * The Passion music label

    And some very influential ministers have been shaped by college ministry:
    * Tim Keller began his ministry with InterVarsity. In fact, I believe that’s where he was saved (not sure about that latter point).
    * Dan Kimball’s Vintage Faith church in Santa Cruz was birthed out of a college ministry.
    * Mark Driscoll got his start in college ministry (which, to be fair, he doesn’t think too highly of).
    * Don Carson keeps himself honest in his scholarship by regularly doing university mission trips and speaking to lost students about the gospel.
    * Andy Crouch (Culture Making) was the InterVarsity leader at Harvard for years.

    That’s just the stuff off the top of my head. I bet there’s tons more – but we somehow become blind to it.

  2. Thanks for that, Glen. You’re absolutely right. College ministry and collegiate impact have produced all kinds of stuff and people. One of these days, that would make a great book! :)

    If you (or anybody else) can add to that list, let me know. We need to compile it sometime.

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