I will conclude my entries on this subject here. We can however continue the discussion through the comments section. That would be fun. Here are 4 final thoughts I want to throw out on this topic (well, who knows, maybe there will be more in the future…we’ll see):
- Pursuing unity. Students are only on a campus for 4-6 years, so there is limited time. So, there is a sense of urgency we ought to have with bringing the gospel message to them. But first of all, this does not automatically excuse us from “being diligent to preserve the unity of the body” (Ephesians 4), including those members of the body of Christ that are on faculty or the administration side of the “system.” It’s one thing to say we’re not living in disunity, it’s another to say we’re being diligent to preserve unity!
- Dig deep into our hearts. We have to be very careful and dig really deep into our heart motivations! Too often our ministry becomes about getting people to come to our ministry – but of course we would rarely say this. But we can see our heart motivations in one thing: what we do when they graduate? Do we put as much energy into making sure they connect with a church body when they leave as we did trying to get them to come to our ministry? If not, we’re missing the whole point and we have wrongly placed our ministry above their spiritual health.
- Overturning the system. The university system, in general, is not a God-honoring system. In this regard, I would say I would love to see God overturn the system. But how do we do it? I don’t have all the answers, but what I can say is that in all the years of our “march in and do our own thing” without bringing any of the “core” members of the university system into the mix, certainly hasn’t worked. The reality is campus ministries more often than not compete with one another in an unhealthy and unnecessary ways with who God is already working through on a particular campus. There are some ministries that are in unity with others which is phenomenal. We ought to pursue these partnerships much more . Unfortunately I don’t think being unified with what God is already doing is our first objective. More often than not, our sinful desire takes over and we rationalize building our own empire.
- Urgency to our mission. There ought to be a sense of urgency as believers…but with a condition: that our urgency isn’t about us getting another “notch” on our belt of someone else that has seemingly accepted Christ. Frankly, too often evangelism is about our pride rather than about the salvation of souls. We might say our heart is for the person we’re trying to reach, but then too often we issue a count of the people that were “saved,” or the amount of baptism’s we were a part of. To me, this is more of a “notch” thing, than a Christ thing. There was a time in which a long time friend did his best at articulating the gospel to me and I confessed my sin before God, excepted His forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice and I also, at that time, told the Lord I wanted to honor Him in everything. But fully embracing the gospel message in my life takes time and is much messier than that prayer or when I was baptized. I’m thankful to one commenter that talked about walking with people after their initial decision to follow Christ is made. Simply counting the amount of prayers or baptisms is simply an American way of measuring success, not necessarily Christ’s way of measurement. You can easily see in the gospels that Christ did not judge success by the number of people that “confessed” to believe!
The reality is I think there is a difference between our mouth and heart. I think if we opened up our hearts we scream a different story than our mouth articulates. The university is a mission field and we ought to view it that way. Mission is not about us, it’s about the people we’re trying to reach. Its not about making ourselves look good, it’s about doing what’s BEST for those we’re trying to reach. It’s not about avoiding disunity, it’s about diligently preserving it. We cannot do this without bringing the other believers on a campus into the mix. Just some thoughts…