Last night I spoke at Drake University for Amy Schoepf with InterVarsity Campus Ministry. Since January, our church has supported InterVarsity as a line item missions allocation in the budget. It gives me great joy to be able to support a super ministry and a gifted campus minister. As I drove home from their weekly worship experience I thought about why it is important to support campus ministries and decided to post some of my musings.
1. Campus ministries have unprecedented access to students. They are able to efficiently serve the students of their campus because they “belong.” They are able to work freely in the environment of the campus because they are insiders.
2. Campus ministries have a continuous presence. They don’t come and go. They possess an air of permanence which gives students unprecedented access to ministry. Students don’t have to wonder where to go for ministry or leave campus. (Don’t forget, not every college student has a car!) It’s available right there on the bottom shelf.
3. Campus ministries are able to focus on the students. Ministry is designed for the students with their needs in mind. In the case of InterVarsity, students are encouraged, trained and involved in leadership.
4. Campus ministers have expertise. They are not only trained to do college ministry, they are trained to understand and interpret the culture of their campus. Each campus has its own unique vibe. They are not uniform. Campus ministers are good missiologists, designing ministry and evangelism for their specific campus culture.
5. Campus ministries have a profound impact on the world. As I met students last night I was amazed at the diversity. The kids I met were not from Des Moines, neither did they intend to stay in Des Moines after graduation. Kids come to a university or college, and when they depart at graduation they take the entirety of their experience with them to their first job. Yes, that includes their spiritual experiences as well as their diploma.
6. Campus ministries bless and build the Kingdom of God. If you’re going to support a campus ministry, the first thing you’re going to need to do is check your motivation at the door. Supporting campus ministries and campus ministers is Kingdom work. It’s not about you or what your church can get out of it. Unfortunately, a lot of churches are missing an opportunity to make an eternal difference because they can’t get past the question, “What does our church get out of this?” Newsflash: Who said your church was supposed to get “anything out of this?” We support InterVarsity with no strings attached. That means we don’t expect kids to come to our weekend worship. That means we don’t treat our campus minister like a staff member. That means we have no expectation to “use” that ministry to pad our attendance. We write a check. We open our doors. We answer the phone. We speak when invited on the topics that are assigned. We serve. We pray. We cheer. Period.
Some of the most creative Kingdom work taking place in our nation is being done on college and university campuses. I hope you’ll find one near you and become a part of something bigger than yourself.