Joel turned us on the the e-book by Benson Hines entitled: Reaching the Campus Tribes (www.reachingthecampustribes.com) and has been blogging about it (http://jhughes.neoblogs.org/2009/07/reaching-the-campus-tribes-review-part-2/). I just finished reading the book and thought it very worthwhile. Thanks Joel for searching this stuff out!
As Benson went through his argument for the need to invest more in the college scene I was most struck with a sense of “that’s right”. It was more resonance, we’ve felt that for years and it’s so cool to hear someone else voice it as well. Here are a few…
- “The practice of college ministry is far more like Missions than like Christian Education.” (p. 8 ) – Though not fully cross-cultural, it does have that missions feel and needs to be approached in that way since the church has so little presence in the college scene. This could be said of our post-Christian culture as well, but it is probably no where as desperate as in the universities (Joel has commented extensively on this: http://jhughes.neoblogs.org/).
- College age is a “hinge moment” in a person’s life. “If American Christians ministered to college students really well for the next five years and then completely stopped, we would still change the world for the next fifty years. (p. 61) — I really like this point and I don’t understand at all why the Christian church ignores this. If we cannot reach students in college, what is the likelihood that they will come back to the church let alone develop a strong vital and impactful walk with the Lord? On the other hand, what is the percentage of older strong Christian workers who had a meaningful time of spiritual growth during college-aged years (either being saved in college or prior to college) — I would think very high. That certainly is the case in Xenos.
“Better college ministry, better youth ministry” (p. 71) — Isn’t that the truth. I feel that we are so blessed as a fellowship to have older students ministering in vital roles to younger-aged students. I feel personally blessed because some of those kids are my kids. But even more it is a beautiful testimony of the Body of Christ when you have older adults working together with high schoolers or college students to minister to junior high or younger students. In addition, the vision that the older groups give to the younger groups is awesome. The imagery of the parts of the body from 1 Cor 12 really come to life.
After reading this and thinking about it, it really impresses upon me what an important opportunity we have to help build God’s Kingdom — do you appreciate what we are involved in? I know I don’t and easily get distracted by the day-to-day mundane. Like Paul says, we need to make ”the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph 4:16). The time is now and we don’t want to waste it. We are entering the college scene this year with the strongest group in our history. About seven or eight years ago we entered with three guys and out of that we now have two home churches. This year we have over twenty students in college ministry… talk about potential! Not only that, but we still have great waves in high school and junior high on their heals.
We need to be ”devoted” in prayer over this (Col 4:2)! We need the Lord because we are in way over our heads and no doubt the devil will mount even greater persecution than we have experienced in the past as well as other forms of attack. But God has privileged us with this ministry and I trust He knows what He’s doing.