This is my fifth year in full-time campus ministry. Seeing that statement makes me shake my head because 1) I can’t believe I’ve been out of college for that long, and 2) I’m wondering where all the time went. It seems like only yesterday that I was a fresh faced seventeen-year-old (I had a head start) bouncing onto campus ready for my first day of classes.
But those days are over, and the adventure of full-time ministry has been quite the ride. For the most part, when people find out what I do, their responses are encouraging and it’s fun to get the opportunity to tell them more about Campus Renewal Ministries and our work on campuses nationwide.
But what I’ve also come to realize is that there are still a lot of Christians and churches out there who don’t understand or realize exactly how important it is to not only have campus ministries, but partner with and support us too. And I’m praying this changes quickly, because here’s the reality:
We need help, and we can’t do this without you.
Powerful and Unchurched
At almost 25% of the population, researchers such as The Barna Group, say 18-35 year olds are the least likely to be in church, let alone prioritize faith. Yet they are the ones who are the most likely to be searching for meaning in their lives, and have the power, influence and capital to make changes in their communities, cities and the nation.
It’s no wonder politicians and presidential candidates have started adding campus tours to their campaign. They’ve realized if they want any chance of winning, the college student/young professional’s vote is crucial. Young people today don’t just know they have a voice, they want to use it.
All the more then, the church should be looking at their local campuses and how they can impact the community there. It’s more than just praying for campuses, students and professors, it requires people being ready to labor there day in and day out.
Enter the Special Ops Team AKA Campus Ministries
The world of campus ministries is an interesting place sometimes. We’re not a church (though some have a local church they’re tied to), but we’re more than just a bible study. We exist to provide spiritual guidance to students, train them on topics like prayer, mission and evangelism, counsel them through relationships and career choices, and most importantly, we bring Jesus to those who refuse to set foot into a church.
We are the ones who set into motion the three pinnacles of faith (prayer, mission and partnership) all at once on a campus. We get the privilege of rejoicing with students over new salvations, good grades and engagements, and the challenge of facing head on the heartbreaking hurts of drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, depression and more.
We get the task of stepping into a world that is pretty much in this nation’s backyard so to speak, that is at the same time one of the largest mission fields we could possibly ever set foot in. And then, on top of all that, we tackle the task of raising support and trying to explain to people why campus ministries are vital to college campuses.
Students Today, Leaders Tomorrow
Today I write as a young 25-year-old, representative of my generation and the generations to come. I write to the churches and the Christians who aren’t connected to a college campus and implore you to consider what you could be a part of if only you would partner with a campus and/or campus ministry.
These students today will be tomorrow’s teachers, journalists, doctors, businessmen, and yes, your next president. They could be the ones who will leave a great legacy that glorifies God, but only if we continue to reach out and bring Jesus to the campus.
Speaking as one in campus ministry, I believe it is absolutely vital for churches and campus ministries to partner together. We don’t just need prayer and finances (though those are highly important), we also need people who will show up to support campus events, mentor students and more.
The point is, you are needed. And just because you’re not on a campus doesn’t mean you can’t have a part in impacting the lives of college students today. We in campus ministry fully believe the revival and transformation of college campuses is entirely possible. The question then is, will you join us?
“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” – Luke (:37-38)
Kimberly Chung is the National Media Director for Campus Renewal Ministries, a ministry focused on forging partnerships in prayer to build missional communities that transform college campuses with the gospel of Jesus. She is a campus minister to The University of Texas at Austin and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org