visiting campus tribes with students (a fridea)

A while back, Chuck Bomar posted a great thought on adding value to college ministry mission trips. I’d encourage you to read the post, but Bomar basically argues that when traveling overseas, we should not only involve our students in the direct “mission” of the trip (whatever that may be), but we should also expose them to other missionary work. By seeing multiple ways foreign missions truly takes place, students gain a much broader view of what being a “missionary” can mean.

I’d like to springboard from that post to this week’s Fridea, which is applicable to mission trips, ski trips, retreats, or any other treks you take with your students – whether your travels take you far away or stick pretty close to home.

Here’s the Fridea: Spend some time on other campuses with your students.

I remember a collegiate mission trip I got to help plan while I was serving in West Texas; we took about 100 students from Abilene to Boston, MA. Obviously, Boston is one of the most “collegiate” cities in the U.S., so any visit there (even a vacation) might include visits to Harvard and other famous campuses.

But I appreciated the fact that our planning team decided to take an extra step to connect students with those Boston-area campuses. While there, we not only encouraged our students to visit various campuses, we participated in prayer walking and other campus ministry experiences. And not just at Harvard or MIT, but also at less-known (but still amazing) places like Northeastern U.

And so our Abilene students left the world of their various Christian colleges (all three of the big schools in Abilene are Christian schools!) and encountered fellow students in very different settings.

Campus visits and connections to other campus ministry activities can be a fantastic way to…

  • increase students’ awareness of the needs on their own campus
  • catalyze their creativity for reaching their classmates
  • and spur them to the missional approach they should be living out day-to-day

This can be as simple as ducking into a campus on the way to the ski slopes or a conference – for lunch and a little prayer walking, “spiritual exegesis,” or a quick tour from / discussion with a campus minister. Or campus participation could make up a piece of your plans during a mission trip or retreat… or perhaps even the focus of the trip!

Even a quick road trip can easily bring you to a “foreign” campus tribe, offering an eye-opening and heart-stirring teachable moment. Why not take advantage of that opportunity?


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  1. I did this once with a small group of students. We were planning on starting a Sunday morning worship service on our campus. So, I loaded up several of our leaders and we went to visit another campus ministry 3 hours away that was doing something similar…and doing it well. We attended their Sunday service and sat down to chat with their campus minister and other key students.

    It was highly, highly valuable.

    Great thinking, Benson!

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