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When I started doing young adult ministry, things were going great. Our Sunday school class was growing and students were wanting to have a mid-week gathering. As I started to talk with students to gather a census on when would be a good time to meet, I started to notice a trend. As much as my students wanted to have a midweek gathering none of them could commit to one, because they were already committed to a campus ministry that met during the week. In fact, I was learning that these campus ministries had something happening every single night of the week, making it impossible for my church to even start a midweek gathering because of how involved my students were. We ended up settling to meet on a Sunday night.
It was exciting to be able to start a new bible study time, but it was frustrating to no end that I couldn’t meet during the week because of campus ministries The love/hate relationship our churches have with any campus ministry, whether youth or college, can be unsettling. And the truth is, we have the Church to blame for this relationship. We developed campus ministries as another way of reaching students for Christ, which is great! Yet, instead of the Church stepping up and discipling these students, we let the campus ministries take the discipleship role they never should of had in the first place. The Church created this culture, and I believe one of the reasons why churches don’t have young adult ministries is because they believe the campus ministries will take care of it for them.
Now hear me, I am not against campus ministries. I understand their purpose and I’m thankful they can be an on going presence for Christ on campus, however, instead of being upset over the paradigm we’ve inherited, I’ve chosen to partner with campus ministries. They are not our enemy, they are our friends, and both sides need to start playing nice. I believe if the Church is the one who created this culture, then it needs to be the Church to take the first steps in bridging the gap. Here is how you can begin partnering with campus ministries, and what you should share with your students about them:
In the end, we all have the same goal in mind. We want to see students come to know Christ as their Savior, and move them to being the body of believers Christ has called us to be. We will never be able to do that effectively if we are not working together. If you are a minister at a church or the leader of a campus ministry, make plans to meet with one or the other this week. Take the time to start open dialogue about how a partnership can begin.
If you partner with a campus ministries what have you done to create an open dialogue?
If you are a leader for a campus ministry, what would you like ministers at a church to know about campus ministry?