I’m on my 15th multistate, college ministry-exploring road trip! (Details here.) So I’m writing whenever I can this week, about both the college ministry learnings and reflections on the trip itself.
I get asked a lot about my “favorite” campuses. But I’m not a big fan of playing favorites. I truly do love all these campus tribes scattered around the country, and I’m excited about the work God’s doing here, there, and everywhere… and the work He’s going to do!
But I have had a multitude of campus experiences, and sometimes those experiences have produced a certain fondness for certain places. Northern Arizona University is like that for me, and maybe not for the reasons you’d think.
Four reasons the Lumberjack tribe holds a special place in my heart:
- This was one of my earliest explorations. Long before God called me to more drastic, truly nationwide exploration, I did take several pretty large road trips. And Flagstaff just happens to be an excellent stopping place between Texas and Southern California. So I’d been to NAU long before I visited here during the Yearlong Road Trip – and that gives it a special place in my heart.
- It’s beautiful. Okay, this might be a reason you’d expect, but it’s true. For a boy from North Texas, seeing mountains, snow, and lots of trees is a very big treat. The campus itself is laid out in a sorta tricky way, but the surroundings are excellent. (The Lumberjack mascot is therefore apropos – and yet another reason I like this place. I appreciate unique mascots.)
- It’s Flagstaff. I went to one of the most conservative public schools in the country (Texas A&M), and while I was perfectly comfy there, I get a kick out of campus settings that are quite different from my own alma mater’s. This is a unique, offbeat sort of place, like Boulder (which I got to visit on my last official road trip). It’s tricky soil from a college ministry perspective, but that means it’s all the more exciting to think of God invading this place with peace and community and purpose.
- I’ve slept here. Like I said, Flagstaff is a great stop between Texas and California. And that hasn’t only meant exploring the campus; once or twice it meant staying here overnight… in the parking lot. In what I’ve sometimes dubbed the “Pathfinder Motel” (or maybe even the Corolla Motel before that?), air conditioned by the wonderfully chilly air here at 7,000 feet. And something about that experience has increased my fondness for NAU too; perhaps “where your bed is, there your heart will be also”?
In case you’re wondering, I’m staying in a Motel 6 this week.
Posted from the University Union, Northern Arizona University