Last week, it was breadth to the four winds – and that garnered some pretty interesting comments, especially interesting for a boy from the South.
The same questions I asked then apply here, too:
- What are the unique college ministry aspects of your region? (Do you know them?)
- What college ministry aspects of other regions have surprised you?
- What don’t you know about other regions’ and other circles’ college ministry norms? (It’s something we can never answer – and that fact humbles us!)
And please remember, these are riffs, not comprehensive reviews. The awesomeness of all this is how diverse everywhere is – campus to campus, town to town, state to state. I haven’t seen enough, but I’ve been blessed to see some cool things!
I am blown away by how much effort is put into vocational spirituality in the Northeast quadrant of our country, especially compared to the rest of us. Many in the Northeast (leaders and even students) are ahead of the game on this. (Those working on this include, for instance, Brian Musser in Philly or Manna Christian Fellowship and others at Princeton or the CCO all over…) The Northeast will (I so hope) lead the rest of us slowpokes in this urgent matter.
Is this quadrant the cradle of American college ministry? Perhaps. It’s not simply that campus ministry giants Passion and Campus Crusade and Growing Leaders and Baptist Collegiate Ministry and RUF and Great Commission Ministries all headquarter here (who am I forgetting?). There are also many individual college ministries with a great history of success, scattered throughout this corner of our land. While size and history certainly don’t mean everything, it’s hard to imagine “knowing” college ministry without knowing these exciting, “classic” college campuses.
This innovative, not-too-worried-about-tradition corner will be, I’m guessing, the site for much college ministry innovation. Already, it’s not shocking that Campus Crusade originated here, nor that the Four Circles Evangelism method did, too. Nor that the Jesus Movement spread largely from here. It’s not particularly easy to do college ministry from SoCal through New Mexico (although some places are friendlier than others), but that’s part of the fun – and I imagine we’ll see much more from all these who are happily open to following the Spirit wherever He blows.
It’s perhaps easiest to count out the Northwest when it comes to college ministry, seeing as how the region isn’t known for Jesus-ness and isn’t as known for collegiate-ness as its secular cousin, the Northeast. But certain facts bust up our generalizations – like Don Miller’s exciting report from the front lines of college ministry up here in Blue Like Jazz, to the recognition that the most impactful church-based college ministry resides in the heart of Seattle, to the surprising prevalence (at least from what I’ve seen) of collegiate discipleship communities. Like everywhere else, it isn’t always easy… but it is interesting up there, to say the least.