Yearlong Road Trip

In August of 2007, I began a year-long road trip to research college ministry throughout the country.

Between then and August, 2008, I experienced 181 campuses, 44 states (plus D.C., Mexico, and an accidental trip to Canada), 165 weekend church services (really!), college ministry events throughout the country. Along the way, I also got to interview around 300 college ministers and others who impact the field of college ministry.

Plus, I had all kinds of additional adventure along the way!

the book

For the major themes from the trip and lots of great pictures, check out the FREE ebook I published soon after the trip, Reaching the Campus Tribes. The book is written for pastors, parents, youth pastors, college ministers, and anyone else who wants to know what’s happening in college ministry around the U.S., why college ministry matters, and how we can approach this vital effort in better ways.

where I explored

I started the trip with about six weeks in Chicagoland, first exploring New Student Orientations and then many of the other schools, churches, and college ministries in that huge area. I followed that with a month in the Boston area and then explorations throughout the South. Of course, there were opportunities in-between those “chapters,” like a phenomenal four days at Virginia Tech.

That was only Semester One.

Then, in the second semester, I explored from San Diego to Seattle and all over the Great Northwest. Next up was a rather drastic 8-day TRECC all the way to North Carolina. Once there, I explored ministry in the “Triangle” bounded by Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

When summertime hit, I spent some time zig-zagging all over the Midwest. Then I explored D.C. and the Southeast for a month. Finally, I worked my way westward for about five weeks, generally heading from Kentucky over to Arizona.

For the individual chapters and links to detailed itineraries, click here.

why I explored

Why take a crazy, nation-sized road trip? Ultimately, I want to help change the world by changing the way Christians think about (and value) college ministry. I knew that exploring college ministry nationwide could help by:

  • Gaining a national picture of what’s happening “on the ground” in Evangelical college ministry (a picture that few – if any – have had before)
  • Collaborating with college ministers and other leaders about our field
  • Providing the opportunity to share about college ministry with American Christians
  • Encouraging college ministers throughout the nation

(Those Road Trip purposes are further explained in this post.)

The whole idea was pretty crazy, but it unfolded into the best experience of my life. I learned lots of great things, and nearly everyone I know or met has been incredibly supportive.



I truly believe that opportunities to learn wisdom surround us on all sides, all day, from just about all quarters. You may or may not agree with that. But for me, this was a year of heightening our chances for victory through interaction with many counselors (Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 24:6). So I certainly visited ministries and interacted with people that I might not agree with on every (or any) issue – philosophically, methodologically, even theologically. Because I can learn from them – and in fact, I have, time and time again.


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