There’s no busier time in campus ministry than the first month of classes. The first month is filled with leadership retreats, welcome events, outreach events, tabling, and countless hours on campus meeting new students. With all this activity, some things (understandably) have to be sacrificed. I just hope this fall college pastors do not sacrifice one of the most important hours of the week – an hour of prayer with one another.
Here are some reasons why I believe one hour of prayer with other ministry leaders is so important.
Spending an hour a week in prayer simply gives you the chance to get to know one another. There is tremendous value in getting to know your peers who are going to be right beside you in the hustle and bustle of the first month of class. Odds are that you’re even going to see each other on campus a lot during the first few weeks of class. It’s a joy to greet one another, knowing each others’ names and knowing what each others’ ministries are doing.
Friendships alleviate the insecurity, fear, and suspicion that lead to an unspoken sense of competition at the start of the fall semester. When you pray together weekly, you get to know each others’ hearts and motives which helps eliminate false assumptions. It allows you to minister with greater integrity.
Learn From Another
As you build relationships with each other you begin to learn more about each others’ ministries. Conversations about ministry philosophy, vision, and values can be incredibly beneficial. It makes you a better pastor. Plus, learning about who is doing what and where gives each ministry leader a better sense of their individual ministry’s niche or part in the Body of Christ.
Younger/newer campus ministers need to get together with the pastors who have been on campus longer. You can learn simple things like where to park or how to comply with university rules and big picture things like what cultural and spiritual shifts have taken place on the campus over the last ten to twenty years.
Prayer Comes First
I hope it goes without saying that the biggest reason we set aside an hour to pray with one another is because prayer is so important. If we really want to see God do a marvelous work on our campuses, then we have to pray together. Prayer cannot get choked out because of busyness.
There is something really powerful in united prayer, when leaders from many churches and ministries come together to seek God on behalf of their common mission field. It’s different than when praying alone and it’s different than when praying with your individual ministry or staff team. There is power in united prayer. We need this hour together. Let us not forsake it this fall.
Justin Christopher is Campus Renewal Ministries’s National Campus Director and the author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He facilitates CRM’s Partnering Campus Project and also gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.