I wrote last week about the newly reformed partnership of six campus ministries at UT called “Renovate UT.” Our vision is stated this way:
“Renovate UT is a partnership of campus ministries seeking the redemption and restoration of God’s kingdom at the University of Texas through reaching every student with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our goal in this partnership is to strategically connect ministries and students toward establishing a viable Christian community on mission in every college, club, residence and culture at UT.”
There are several agreed upon core values that undergird this vision. I thought I’d share these values with you and make a few comments about what they mean to me.
“We believe God has called us to take ownership of the souls of the 50,000 students at The University Texas, and that we must work together strategically to do what God has called us to. Within the larger mission, we believe God has called specific ministries to focus on particular groups at the University to effectively accomplish campus saturation with missional communities.”
We are agreeing to treat the whole university as our common mission field. We’re not simply trying to grow our individual ministries. We literally aim to reach the entire campus (every unique people group) with the gospel of Jesus. To use a sports quote: “The name on the front of the jersey (God’s glory at UT) is more important than the name on the back (CRM, Cru, Echo, Chi Alpha, Wesley, Austin Stone).”
“As God has called us to a common vision and strategy for reaching the campus, we desire to hold one another accountable to our portion in the mission of reaching the campus, and to continuing to seek the Lord on how our ministry must grow and adapt toward that end.”
This is really radical. Each month when we gather together we have agreed to come with stories and a completed report of what God did through our missional communities that month. There is no pride or competition as we report. We simply want to measure what God is doing on campus overall and hold each other accountable to the part we each play in reaching the whole.
“We believe that in order to be effective missionaries at the University of Texas, we must learn from one another and challenge one another to grow in effectiveness in ministry. Learning happens best in community, and we value time spent with one another diligently seeking God for best ministry practices in our context.”
One thing is for certain: all of our missional communities look a little different. This partnership does not make us all do the exact same things, but it does allow us to learn from one another. We share our struggles and our successes. We learn how other ministries equip and coach their leaders. We share not just about the tactics we use, but our Biblical understanding that motivates our missional communities.
“We believe we must collaborate together to effectively reach the University of Texas with a common vision, agreed strategy, empowering partnerships. Our collaboration could include shared training time, cooperative resources, common initiatives and events, and celebration together.”
We believe that collaboration can accelerate our work. Our primary means of collaboration is connecting our students across ministry lines within their common mission fields. In addition, we also want to regularly consider other creative ways to push the movement forward. We want our students to share what we, the college pastors in Renovate UT, feel when we meet together – that we’re a part of something bigger!
Justin Christopher is the director of Campus Renewal Ministries at the University of Texas and author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.