|Transforming Campus Ministries||
(Almost) Any Church Can Be a Transforming Campus Ministry is the title of a breakout session I'll lead at 3 p.m. today at the Best Practices in Ministry conference at Christ Church Lutheran, Phoenix. All conference participants are encouraged to attend.
Please pray for all who are grieving as a result of the shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon today.
Over the years I have been asked frequently whether campus ministry is needed at community colleges. Yes, I have always said, in part because tragedies such as this aren't limited to four year colleges and universities. But also because every college has students who are hurting, searching for meaning and purpose, etc.
Most colleges and universities have started their respective academic years, or will do so soon. Everyone is excited...and a bit overwhelmed. Wait 3-4 weeks after the start of the semester, then contact leaders at your local college/university to set a time to meet for 20-30 minutes.
Use these brief meetings to start to build positive relationships and to seek opportunities to serve, based on what you learn. You're bound to hit the mark if you align one of the school's self-identified unmet needs with the gifts God has given your congregation to serve.
Let me know if you need more help. Email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Greg Fairow, Transforming Campus Ministries executive director, will lead two breakout sessions entitled (Almost) Any Church Can Be a Transforming Campus Ministry at the Best Practices for Ministry conference in Phoenix later this week.
His sessions will be held at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. MST this Friday, Feb. 27.
Nearly 1,500 persons will attend the conference. If you're one of them, please join Pastor Greg for one of his sessions.
A little bit of fun today.
By day he's a successful corporate attorney. At home he's a devoted husband and father. He also serves faithfully as the secretary of Transforming Campus Ministries' board of directors. But once in a while Greg Suckow is Hawkeye Elvis. Here's a link to a podcast where an Iowa sportswriter interviews him. Enjoy!
A River of Booze is part of The Chronicle of Higher Education's series on drinking in college towns. It examines Athens, Georgia's "uneasy embrace of drinking," though it "could be almost anywhere."
Campus ministries can't stop the flow of alcohol, of course, but they can help colleges educate students (and others) about the effects of alcohol consumption, and they can host alcohol-free events. Some colleges may even provide funding to help you do so.
Email me at email@example.com for more information.
"Last month, California State University, with its 23 campuses and nearly 450,000 students, withdrew official recognition from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, a national group with branches on many Cal State campuses," according to an October 6 article in The Chronicle for Higher Education. (Note: Access to this article requires a subscription with a username and password.) "The group had refused to eliminate a policy that required its student leaders to pledge that they were devout Christians."
"Cal State officials concluded that that put InterVarsity in conflict with both state law and university rules that forbid discrimination based on, among other things, religious identity."
Other universities have arrived at different conclusions, the article said. For example, in 2009 the University of Florida "added an exemption for religious groups to its antidiscrimination policy." And Ohio’s General Assembly in 2011 guaranteed that religious groups at Ohio State University "could use religious criteria to select leaders and members."
How Cal State's decision may impact your campus ministry, now or in the future, is something your ministry's leaders need to be prepared to address. Every campus is unique - as is every campus ministry - so there is no "one size fits all" answer.
Keeping in mind that I'm a campus pastor and not an attorney, I'd be happy to chat with you about it's potential impact at your ministry. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation.
"In 2013, Americans rated six professions more trustworthy than clergy: nurses, pharmacists, grade school teachers, medical doctors, military officers, and police officers," according to an article by Kate Tracy for Christianity Today, citing a Gallup poll.
Slightly less than half of Americans rate clergy highly on honesty and ethics, an all-time low. (The poll first asked about the clergy in 1977.) Worse, only one-third of millennials - 18 to 34 years old, which includes most college students - trust clergy members.
This is both a challenge and an opportunity for campus pastors. We can't changed what previously happened that led to this decline in trust, but we can seek to change this perception - if only among those we are privileged to serve - by reflecting Jesus Christ with honest and ethical behavior.
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any
participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility
count others more significant than yourselves.4 Let each of you look not only to
his own interests, but also to the interests of others.5 Have this mind among
yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,6 who, though he was in the form of
God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,7 but made himself
nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.8 And
being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point
of death, even death on a cross
Helping you make Christ-followers on campus
Rev. Greg Fairow
is Transforming Campus Ministries' executive director. Follow Transforming Campus ministries on Facebook and follow Greg on Twitter.
Transforming Campus Ministries
2446 S Duval
Mesa, AZ 85209