in defense of 1200 miles

I’m on my 15th multi-state, college ministry-exploring road trip! (Details here.) This week’s blogs are a chance to ride along with me, both on the fun stuff and the ministry learnin’. Enjoy.

It makes sense to spread far and wide the “Spring Forward, Fall Back” reminder for clock-adjustment… until you come here. As you may be well aware, Arizona doesn’t “celebrate” Daylight Saving Time, so at this moment they’re in line with Pacific Time; come mid-November, they’ll be tracking with the Mountain Timers.

Similarly, it’s natural and helpful to discuss strong August college ministry ideas, or to share an excellent approach to reaching students in each half of the school year. Until you’re talking to college ministers at the dozens of Quarter System schools.

One might be tempted to call regular on-campus meetings an “obvious” “Best Practice”… but that just means we haven’t met too many campus ministers at commuter schools.

And I’ve heard about methods trumpeted because of their fruits at one campus… then seen the scars left from those same methods on several other campuses.

It looks like this road trip is going to involve some purposeful time spent getting to know a couple of campuses and God’s work there. But I already know that both schools are great examples of campus diversity. UNLV is clearly in one of the most unique metropolitan areas in the U.S.. And last time I visited, I thoroughly enjoyed stumbling upon its large Hotel Management school (makes sense in Las Vegas, right?).

Northern Arizona University, on the other hand, is where I once met a college minister devoted to niche ministry among outdoors-lovers. NAU, surrounded by mountains and in the middle of the very unique town of Flagstaff, naturally inspires unique ministry.

And THAT’s why it makes sense to travel 1200 miles to explore a little more of the college ministry world: because I can’t really learn about Northern Arizona University by studying SMU (the closest university to where I live). In fact, studying SMU wouldn’t even tell me an awful lot about impacting University of Texas at Dallas, TCU, Texas Wesleyan University, or any of the other schools within 50 miles of my house.

I’ll get the chance on Wednesday to talk to some Las Vegas pastors about reaching their local “campus tribes.” And I’ll tell them the same thing I blog about often: College campuses are different, so we’ve got to figure out how to reach each one.

Fortunately, they won’t have to travel 1200 miles to evaluate their mission fields. And as for me, I’m happy to do it.

Written from Motel 6, Holbrook, Arizona

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