All week I’ve been springboarding from my outline for tonight’s lecture at Dallas Seminary on college and young adult ministry. And one of the most fun things I’ll get to present is the breadth of what’s out there. I don’t know the students’ background in ministry – I plan to ask tonight – but their location (Texas) and chosen seminary make it likely I’ll be able to offer a few surprises from the rest of this wide, wide world of college ministry.
One of the characteristics that stinks most about our field right now (and one of the biggest reasons I’ve explored in the ways I have) is that we don’t realize the unique, seemingly highly effective methods out there. Like having several chapters on the same campus (six at Berkeley, above, eleven at Michigan, etc.) – a backbone of InterVarsity’s methodology. Or like the excellent internship program run by Chi Alpha (which they happily call “Campus Missionary in Training”). The yearly students-and-leaders (plus campus-based-and-church-based-together) conference held by the Southern Baptists. Or the highly impactful focus of the Coalition for Christian Outreach on vocation… along with their highly unique hybrid-funding model. Or the excellent principles for church-based ministry established long ago by the Ascent Network.
And on and on, and on and on.
I hope you have the opportunity to observe (and therefore learn from) the deeper methodology of the college ministries on your campus. A starter might be my posts in the “Profiles of Groups and People” category here on the blog; I’ve at least been able to provide good synopses of Cru, IV, SBC, and Chi Alpha work, arising from specific opportunities I’ve had with them.
But you’ve likely got some living, breathing synopses working alongside you in your campus tribe, too. When’s the last time you picked their brain about what makes their organization different?