Road Trip 12: short but sweet

It’s a testimony to the craziness of my recent road-tripping history that Road Trip 12 could be deemed “short,” but this recent 10-day trip was possibly the shortest of the twelve multi-state, college-exploring road trips I’ve taken since 2004.

Yet it’s a happy fact that this trip was still really, really good. It’s amazing to watch God use both planning and surprises to continue to use these road trips to enhance my understanding of the national college ministry scene and allow opportunities to encourage, teach, and otherwise push in our field.

As I look back, here are some highlights from this short-but-sweet excursion:

a surprise start

One of the really unique characteristics of Road Trip 12 was that it completely caught me by surprise. It wasn’t until Thursday the 30th that I planned to go, with a launch date only two days later. (Read the post I wrote at the time.)

two national college ministry groups

One major aspect of this trip was exploring the “national scene” of college ministries from two major church-fellowships (neither of which consider themselves “denominations”).

First I attended the National Student Conference of the National Association of Christian Campus Ministries. Not only did a get a great feel for their national work, but my time with those leaders from the minstries of the Independent Christian Churches provided one of the coolest opportunities to experience “college minister community” I’ve had. (For my intro to this national college ministry, click here.)

Then in Nashville, I got to sit down with Morgan Stephens, National Director of the college ministries of the Every Nation movement (a group of churches formerly known as Morning Star). He provided a fantastic introduction to their college ministry, which has about 50 chapters around the country.

two phenomenal mascots

If you watched my Twitter updates, you know that I got especially excited about two campus visits because of those schools’ phenomenally unique mascots.

First came the University of Evansville Purple Aces. Then came the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (the girls, incidentally, are known as the Golden Suns). Yes, I picked up T-shirts from both campuses.

and more highlights

The trip began with a straight 12-hour drive to Southern Indiana – after only 4 hours of sleep, and with enough rain that I had to stop twice to wait for it to slow down. Even for a pro-road-tripper, that was a memorable drive.

Getting “drafted” for an hour-and-a-half Q&A with the Christian Church guys was awesome, as was connecting with so many great people: ministers I’d met before, ministers I’d only met via Twitter, and brand-new friends.

While I loved meeting with every minister who gave of their time to connect, two particularly cool memories include connecting with the founder of Indelible Grace Music (which has impacted RUF nationally) and chatting (productively, it turned out) with Guy Chmieleski about the need for college ministry bloggers. (I blogged about Indelible Grace here, and Guy’s brand new campus ministry blog can be found here – I’ll be posting more on that soon.)

Across those 10 days I saw 8 states, drove 1960 miles, attended 5 weekend church services, interviewed 11 ministers from all three branches of college ministry (and connected with dozens more at the conference), visited 6 college campuses, and slept in 1 University of Southern Indiana dorm room and 4 motel rooms.

You can also see a detailed list of the 20-or-so explorations from Road Trip 12.

what’s next?

My next scheduled major trip is an October trip to Southern California to speak at the College Leader Conference. But who knows what other trips might pop up? October is a long way off!

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