Sorry for a couple of days off the radar… back from England today!
As I mentioned the other day, last Monday I got to connect with the international staff of IFES and the national (United Kingdom) staff of UCCF: The Christian Unions. More on exactly what those are later, but for now…
IFES is something like a “denomination” of worldwide collegiate ministries, and the Christian Unions are the ministry connected with them inside the UK. (Our “equivalent” to the Christian Unions in the United States is InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, although that doesn’t mean those ministries are fully alike.)
The two guys my wife and I chatted with the most were Tim Johnson of IFES and Brian Weaver of the Christian Unions. And one of our fantastic conversations over lunch centered on how multiple ministries on a campus (including church-based and campus-based college ministries) work in unity.
One thing I learned: It sounds like the phenomenon of several ministries per campus is much less prevalent over there. But we still swapped some stories of college ministers purposely engaging each other and their students in ways that promote unity and – in the case of students – help them choose to dive deeply into discipleship rather than staying on the surface and hopping from Large Group Meeting to Large Group Meeting.
(That concept of “ministry-hopping” – so widespread here in the U.S. – seemed to surprise Tim!)
All of this leads to a Fridea to finish off the week (and I’ll see you after Memorial Day!): Develop your plan for unity as you approach the new school year.
I don’t know what this presently does look like, what it could look like, or what it should look like on your campus. But as the old school year passes and you start planning for next year, I urge you to make this concept part of that planning. This may mean some extra lunches with other college ministers in town, and it surely means some time spent in prayer and thought and discussion with your own team and students around this issue. It may mean an incremental step (“I’m going to connect with one other college minister every week!”), it may be highly focused (“All of the ministries in town are going to urge students to find ONE that fits them best”), it may be event-based, or it may be rather comprehensive. But whatever “purposeful unity” looks like, this should be part of your self-imposed “job description,” whether or not your higher-ups ever ask about it.
“Unity” on campus doesn’t need to mean never overlapping, never “competing,” or not working out your particular approach and calling. But what does it mean for your campus? There’s my encouragement: Spend some time working that out, too.