college ministry, to the next level

A few weeks ago, I mentioned my friends at NewChapter as one example of outside specialists who complement the work of college ministries. I’ve been hoping to highlight NewChapter for a long time, because they’re not only a solid example of that, but their specific work could be revolutionary for some college ministries around the U.S.

NewChapter is actually a construction company that has been (re)building fraternity and sorority houses for several years. However, with several Christians in the mix, they took the opportunity to embark on something new: building a big student housing complex for a college ministry (at Purdue).

And in that process, they began to realize that they could help other ministries, too, by partnering with them to build “Student Living Centers.” I have encountered several examples of ministries dabbling in student housing. This is that idea on steroids! It provides:

  • An alternative funding source. In the case of NewChapter, this Center doesn’t just pay for itself, but also ultimately could provide additional funds for the ministry, for salaries, for whatever. How would that change your ministry?
  • An alternative platform for impact – the chance to connect with residents under your own roof. And those may be students from the general population of your campus, or international students (who often need affordable housing options).
  • An alternative to the classic “college ministry building.” While a Center provides the benefits of worship- and office-space, it doesn’t come with the headaches of normal “ministry houses” (bills, upkeep, etc.). NewChapter brings their management expertise, so the minister doesn’t have to be the go-to-guy (or gal) for their building.
  • An alternative to everything else. “Student Living Centers” are not the norm in college ministry (even if the Greek system uses them all around us). So a Center might reach a whole segment of campus that’s unreached, help your ministry integrate with the campus in new ways, or even introduce a new season for a college ministry.

Whether or not you go with NewChapter, have you ever thought “outside the box” in big ways like this?

If you read this blog regularly, you know I don’t hype too many things. NewChapter is a group I feel really comfortable “hyping,” though. For one thing, they’re intent on making sure this is truly a fit for a ministry before proceeding. We’ve had several discussions this year, and I’ve been floored by how intent they are on understanding how they can help college ministries best. (I wish more organizations paid closer attention to what goes on in our world!)

In fact, NewChapter’s support for college ministry has also led them to help me financially on occasion. I honestly would share what they’re doing even if that wasn’t true, but maybe that’s one more “push” toward contacting them: By connecting with them, you might even be helping me out! (So please tell ’em you heard about this from me!)

Clearly, undertaking a large-scale building project is a BIG deal and certainly isn’t for every ministry. (They actually just discussed that fact on their blog.) It takes a calling and a commitment, for sure. But it’s crazy enough that it just might work, and it’s backed by people who know what they’re doing.

You can certainly contact me to learn more (and I’ll be objective). But of course their site and their blog have lots of good info, too.

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written in the Memorial Union, Arizona State University

Road Trip 13: Day 4 recap
finished at Arizona State, made my way across the border to Blythe, CA
T-shirt: the Redhawk tribe of Miami University (Ohio)
today: the trek to the Sacramento area!

4 Comments

  1. Hey Benson! We have a new building going up here in Grand Junction that is almost the exact same. It’s a place called the “Christ Center” and it is having it’s grand opening in about a month. This building is a 5000 sq ministry complex for use by any of the ministries on my campus. It has a full coffee shop that will work to pay the expenses of the building, as well as help support student missions all over the world. There is a library, a bunch of meeting rooms, and even a dedicated prayer room.

    I’ve been a part of the planning process for about three years, and it’s been amazing to see the development of this great new building. After all the work that’s gone into it, it’s really exciting to finally be able to move in and put this new resource to use. And it’s a great testimony about the unity that the campus ministries have at my campus. We don’t all agree on everything Theologically, but we all agree that the name of Jesus needs to be proclaimed to MSC, and through that we can work together to reach the students at our campus for him.

    Safe travels – careful around that California Traffic…

  2. That’s exciting! Someday I’ll have to see it!

    It sounds like that may be more like a Christian Study Center, though – the Student Living Centers NewChapter does are dorms – I think they told me they house at least 50 people, and more depending on the size.

    So in that case, it’s room rental that pays for the building.

    But I have seen a few Christian Study Centers, and they seem to be really useful. I look forward to seeing how y’all’s works out. Thanks for the info.

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