how might you help our field?

How might God want to use you to help strengthen the field of college ministry?

Several months ago, I had the opportunity to discuss College Ministry training with a Dallas Theological Seminary prof I happen to know. (DTS, like many seminaries, doesn’t have any such thing, and I think that’s a shame!) In fact, several present college ministers or future college ministers attend DTS, even though they don’t offer campus ministry courses.

On Tuesday, that professor (Dr. Jay Sedwick) is bringing all interested parties together for an informal lunch, to talk about how we might continue to push this forward. It looks like a College Ministry course or even a College Ministry track may be instituted one of these days!

As for my role, it was mostly just about me being nosy! I didn’t attend DTS; I just happen to know that professor, and I care about the field of college ministry. And he just happened to respond favorably. I’ve talked to other seminary people about college ministry training and didn’t see the same kind of fruit. But I guarantee I’m gonna keep trying.

Many of you could “be nosy,” too.

How might God want to use you to help strengthen the field of college ministry?

In the last chapter of my book, I highlighted a potential “road map forward” for our field. Have you checked that out? I  note several areas where simple effort could make a major impact, including:

  • individuals championing college ministry where they are
  • churches becoming convinced of the need for some kind of College Student Plan – including uncommon solutions
  • better theories and theologies for college ministry, with debates and discussions of college ministry ideas
  • parachurch organizations (that aren’t specifically collegiate already) developing a collegiate “arm” of their work
  • undertaking helpful research projects on key areas of college ministry

That’s simply a handful of ideas; there are more in the book. Pushing for seminary courses, as mentioned above, is another way. Another is advocacy – sharing not only facts about our own particular work, but sharing The Work, the glorious mission to college students taking place worldwide.

What piece of helping Collegiate Ministry might God call you to? Who do you know? What could you say? What could you write? Where might you be able to “cast your bread,” scattering your influence in all possible directions, in hopes that God might let some of those sparks catch fire for our work?

Yes, we need to do this wisely. Some ways of helping don’t require much experience. But other methods require a breadth of experience or a breadth of collaboration. Not all should presume to be teachers – in fact not many, James 3 says – and that includes blogging and writing and speaking and anything else we might have opportunities to do. (I myself certainly try to “teach” only about what I’ve seen widely. We must beware of guesses – and be aware that we might not realize when we’re guessing!)

But some of us indeed are called to help the field of College Ministry in some way. Just as some professors do research and some manufacturers innovate and some businesspeople write books and some Hollywoodians write blogs, some college ministers have a role to play in raising the visibility of College Ministry or raising the bar for College Ministry. Perhaps sometimes it simply means connecting people together, sometimes it just means passing on a book or a blog, or sometimes it just means making a phone call.

Yes, we must serve our own students well. That is a priority. But if College Ministry grows stronger, then many, many more students will be served – better.

This Winter, how might God want to use you to help strengthen the field of college ministry?

And who else needs to help? Will you encourage them?

If I can ever help you think through this, let’s talk about it! And if you know anybody I should be connected with, let me (or them) know. Everything I’ve learned is for the purpose of helping our field. So just let me know how I can help.

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2 Comments

  1. Benson, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it, I’m guessing, many more times in the future: I have really appreciated your book. I read it in May 2009, just before a whirlwind of summer travel. I did a lot of praying, and thinking, over the thoughts you presented.

    Long story short, I’m moving forward with what I whole-heartedly believe is a God-initiated plan to really dive into the topic of “campus ministry as cross-cultural mission.”

    I’m beginning a three-year process of researching and writing on the topic. I’ll be doing so within the context of a DMin program through George Fox Seminary (http://www.georgefox.edu/seminary/dmin/gml/index.html). At the conclusion, I hope to have a resource in hand (free to others) that will help campus ministers initiate, or restart, a ministry using a “missional” approach.

    Even now, I am kicking off the project by forming a “culture study group” here at Boise State. It will be made up of university staff and faculty, students, campus ministers, local church leaders, and others with missional insight. We’ll research, as a group, the culture of the university (specifically BSU), documenting the process as we go.

    This culture study group is only one small portion of the overall project. And as I stand back and dream at all this might be in the future, it is comforting to know that God does more than I can possibly imagine!

    Keep up the good work everyone…there are great things on the horizon for campus ministry!

  2. Matt Blackwell

    I attended DTS and had prof Sedwick for a few youth ministry classes. I now serve as a college pastor and do think that further training in campus ministry would have been beneficial. There are unique challenges and opportunities in college ministry that are different than traditional youth ministry. Viewing the campus from a missiological perspective is a great start. I hope that the conversation is fruitful. Keep us posted.

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