As you might know from my Twitter feed, I’ve taken a few days this week to do a little mini-exploration of the Fort Worth campus ministry scene. Since I live in the DFW Metroplex, this is really my own backyard – and it’s been nice to observe what I can and meet with a few people since Tuesday.
While meeting with the local Campus Crusade guy, Lance Linnartz, yesterday, a question came up that I’ve pondered in the past: Might there be ways for college ministries to more actively “witness to apathetic Christians”?
First of all, I recognize that there are all sorts of theological differences that affect how one might go about asking this question. However, I think for most of us, the practical results of asking (and answering) the question should be similar. So whether you believe that conversion is a permanent state OR you believe that Christians can indeed fall fully away from Christ, the practical ramifications of my question will work out similarly. I think.
Much of my own direct college ministry was in settings with a large number of students who professed Christ. Not only was I around a lot of students attending Christian schools, but the fact that I was in the state of Texas nearly guaranteed a sizable percentage of students who grew up not just “nominally religious” but actually quite involved with church and with Christ. I do recognize that many Bible Belt students “play the game” and never actually find Christ, but there are also many who seem to make a true decision for Christ and then wade in the shallows (at best) during college.
My personal “prophetic” leanings have always given me a burden for Christians who, at present, aren’t living a life worthy of the calling they have received. And so, though I am of course a BIG fan of evangelism among the unconverted, I’ve also wondered where / how / when there might be room for “proselytizing” Christians.
- College ministry has seen lots of evangelistic fruit with students who have never known Christ but whom He has already brought “near” to that decision.
- Some college ministry work has also found inroads among those quite far from – even antagonistic to – Christ.
- And plenty of college ministry work dramatically impacts those Christian students who truly want to follow Christ.
But it seems rarer for college ministries to make concerted efforts to pursue individuals who are “wading in the shallows,” as I described above. Sure, we can exhort the ones who make it to our college ministry meetings. And maybe that’s all we can / should do.
And yet I still wonder if some of the methods we use in evangelism – campus-wide events, large-scale outreaches, or even surveys and other “approach evangelism” methods – might fit this audience, too. Maybe they already do.
I’m really just pondering here, imagining what this kind of thing might look like, or how it fits within what we do. For us down here in the Bible Belt, apathy is often more the tenor than antagonism… and I’m not sure which is preferable.