the glorious addition of the less glorious institution

As you might imagine, on my yearlong road trip spent exploring college ministries, I ended up on quite a few email lists. I’m still on some of those, and while I don’t always read those digital epistles, one of them this week made me smile.

For years now, the simple From: line on one ministry’s email has said “Idaho Cru.” As is obvious, it’s the University of Idaho chapter of Cru, a ministry I got to visit during my amazing, wild, incredibly full, incredibly snowy week in Northern Idaho / Eastern Washington. (See my whole Northwest chapter here.)

Only suddenly, that longstanding email From: line changed to something less pithy this month: “Idaho and LCSC Cru.”

I don’t know how long this Cru chapter has been impacting Lewis-Clark State College, a school half the size of the U of I in nearby Lewiston. Maybe that effort has just started, or maybe their emails just now reflect it. In either case, it’s a happy addition.

This is one wide open frontier for college ministry: reaching “unreached” colleges out of present college ministries. It’s one of the biggest opportunities for us to impact, and especially to impact students who haven’t been reached out to much. The populations are different, the methods will often need to be different, and the work could be harder. But we simply don’t always need a new collegiate ministry at the big, famous school we’ve always been fans of (even if sometimes we do!).

I know little about LCSC, but I know it’s harder to include in a support-raising letter or a new ministry “pitch.” But it’s glorious to add the “less glorious” institutions, and we have to keep pushing here.

It’s not only campus-based ministries that can heed this call, either. Church-based ministries and collegiate churches can, too – though they’ll need to be willing to stretch in some cases. Even an institutional college ministry (the ministry at a Christian college) might consider “planting” an outreach at a nearby under-served campus with its students – an awesome chance for its students to begin ministering outside the bubble now.

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