The Social Network means college ministry is awesome

I went to see The Social Network again yesterday; I knew I wanted to blog some more about it. (See my original thoughts here.) If you haven’t seen it, I highly encourage it (just know that it’s a very solid PG-13) – and hopefully today’s notes will help you see something in it that would be easy to miss in all the fast-paced dialogue.

There is much that could be said here, but before looking at how The Social Network captures the Millennial generation we serve, I wanted to point out it’s also a great movie about college. And what it shouts loudly (to those who will listen) is that college ministry is vital… and awesome.

1. We serve at colleges.

Beautiful Boston, with its outrageous number of college campuses, figures heavily in this film – including the gorgeous Harvard campus and that whole Cambridge university district. Quaint little college-town Palo Alto shows up, too, and we’re hanging out in a house two blocks from the Stanford campus. We hear of Yale and Columbia, Oxford and London School of Economics, even Baylor(!).

But it’s Harvard that we see most, and we observe little we couldn’t see at our own schools – the wild party scenes, the rigorous academics, the fraternity world, the administration, the traditions, the awkwardly communal communities called dorms (or “halls,” as the case may be). And while this might not be exactly true of each of our campuses, we can’t help but stand in awe that our jobs take us to places like Harvard, where “nineteen Nobel Laureates, fifteen Pulitzer Prize winners, two future Olympians, and a movie star” (and the founder of Facebook) make up the campus tribe.

Can you believe that we get to serve here?

2. We impact college students.

It’s interesting to imagine what Facebook’s beginnings would have looked like if it had been started by guys even a little bit older. 25? 30?

Instead, it was started by college students. It was reported in a college newspaper. They run around changing the worlds and refuse to “let the adults take it from here,” and we see the consequences – good and bad.

And this movie does a great job of showing us all the reasons our work – because it’s among college students – is especially vital. Zeal without wisdom. Entitlement without evidence. Finding romance (however painful or temporary). Seeking, hoping for, doing anything for friendship. Bold, brash, life-ruining, life-establishing. With potential and promise and even present productivity that isn’t matched. By anybody.

And our ministries intersect with them! Right there!

3. We impact Millennials.

This movie, as Alissa Wilkinson wrote for Christianity Today, will for decades “tell us what it was to be part of the generation sociologists are calling the Millennials. ” We have every right to be thrilled that not only do we get to serve college students, but we get to serve in this era, when Millennials have so much to offer the world and our ministries.

More on that in this post.


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