it’s kinda neat to be the R and the D.

A week celebrating College Ministry continues!

In Reaching the Campus Tribes, I shared what I believe may be the most under-recognized reason College Ministry is worth Christendom’s support. And I saw this truth in a new light this week, a light that should encourage each of us. So read the following from RtCT, and then read on for more.

Finally, strong college ministry doesn’t only bless us today and prepare individual college students for tomorrow, it provides a window into what the future of American Christianity will look like.

Many Christian leaders work hard to “know the times” and discern how we can best prepare for future influence. Fortunately, we have highly accessible laboratories to aid in this pursuit. They reveal both the approaching advantages for the Kingdom cause and the difficulties our faith will face in the near future. Both the future of society and the future of Christian ministry are on display each year at thousands of locations around our nation – college campuses.

Well-developed college ministry can truly be “R&D” for the Church…

For Christendom, college ministry is one of the best possible “focus groups” for our future, because there is no better opportunity to gauge where both our faith and the culture are heading. We all recognize that the college campus is on the cutting edge of many aspects of society; it is college ministries that live out Christ’s Kingdom at that cutting edge.

If we make college ministry a priority, we stand to be always at the front of the curve in our ministry efforts…

Ultimately, the attention Christians give college students and college ministry reflects our determination to be ready for our future – just as a company’s R&D investment helps indicate its preparedness for the days ahead.

(You can read this part in its entirety on pages 77-78 of Reaching the Campus Tribes.)

When I’ve talked about College Ministry as “R&D for American Christianity,” I’ve generally done so to encourage American Christians (who aren’t college ministers) to value and support the work. And like I said above, I think this is one of those aspects of college ministry that we should be presenting to outsiders more.

But here’s the flipside: If we genuinely are “on the front lines” of Christian ministry, if we truly do impact within a MAJOR crossroads of culture, and if we actually are the ministers who first meet each generation as it becomes independent – as each generation is “released into the wild”… then we who ARE college ministers have an awful lot to celebrate.

Not in arrogance, of course. But it’s completely right for us to be in awe that God has called us to manage the “farm teams” of thousands of Christian churches and organizations. To rejoice that we get to inform the rest of Christianity about what they’ll face over the next decade. To wonder that He gives us little ol’ college ministers the task of discerning how to minister in new frontiers – like using Facebook or the New Atheism or Being Missional or debates about homosexuality or Reaching and Involving Millennials (all “new frontiers” of the last decade).

We’ve been R&D for American Christianity, and we’ll continue to be. It’s just the nature of our mission field.

Can you believe it?

Can you celebrate it?

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