This comes straight from my ebook, Reaching the Campus Tribes. It’s one of my biggest hopes for our field – that YOU might help lead the Church into its future.
[S]trong college ministry doesn’t only bless us today and prepare individual college students for tomorrow, it provides a window into what the future of American Christianity will look like.
Many Christian leaders work hard to “know the times” and discern how we can best prepare for future influence. Fortunately, we have highly accessible laboratories to aid in this pursuit. They reveal both the approaching advantages for the Kingdom cause and the difficulties our faith will face in the near future. Both the future of society and the future of Christian ministry are on display each year at thousands of locations around our nation – college campuses.
Well‐developed college ministry can truly be “R&D” for the Church.
R&D, shorthand for “research and development,” describes an organization’s investment in its future activities and products. R&D in any industry seeks to gain new understanding, or to better develop the understanding already attained. So organizations’ future effectiveness and significance often depends on R&D. For Christendom, college ministry is one of the best possible “focus groups” for our future, because there is no better opportunity to gauge where both our faith and the culture are heading. We all recognize that the college campus is on the cutting edge of many aspects of society; it is college ministries that live out Christ’s Kingdom at that cutting edge.
If we make college ministry a priority, we stand to be always at the front of the curve in our ministry efforts. With our support and attention, college ministers will be ready and able to tell us of the battles and beauties ahead for the Church at large, just as international missionaries often inform us of changes approaching from the rest of the world. Further, college ministers can also share ministry methods they have found useful for surfing these new waves.
Even now, the Millennial Generation has begun to flood the workplace and marketplace. … And while youth ministers and even children’s ministers have been able to give some description of the Millennials, it is only recently that we have been able to see this group outside the protections of the teenage years. College ministers are on the front lines of connecting with this newest, largest American generation, and these pioneering leaders have wisdom to share with the church at large. The same will be true with the next generation, as well.
Ultimately, the attention Christians give college students and college ministry reflects our determination to be ready for our future – just as a company’s R&D investment helps indicate its preparedness for the days ahead