All 65 campus ministries at UT will be out in force the next few weeks. They’ll be tabling, giving away free food, holding raffles, bringing in bands, hosting welcome events, etc.
Thankfully, at UT this is not done in a way that is competitive. Since the pastors of these ministries have been praying together and building relationships for years, Christian Rush is less about trying to look better than other ministries and more about trying to direct students to the ministry that is best for them.
The Body of Christ has taken the posture of John the Baptist in this passage I love to consider during Christian Rush. Read how John responded when he was “losing” followers to Jesus.
After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:22-30
Know You’re Role
John knew two things. First, any influence he had was “received” and “given” to him by God. God can give and God can take away. Secondly, his role was to go before Jesus. In his eyes, success was not measured by the breadth of influence, but by faithfulness to his call. We all have different roles and capacities. There is joy in accepting the role and influence God gives us on campus.
It’s Not “Your” Church
The bride belongs to the bridegroom. John never saw his disciples as his own. They were always Jesus’s disciples. He was not trying to build his kingdom. He was trying to build the Kingdom. Just as a good best man does not pout at his best friend’s wedding wishing it was he who was getting married instead, so should we rejoice when other campus ministries grow.
It’s Not About You
He must become greater; I must become less. The root of competition is the desire to be great. We want our ministry to look great. We want students to like us. We want to appear like a great leader to other pastors. John just wanted one person to appear great. Just Jesus.
Justin Christopher is the National Campus Director for Campus Renewal Ministries and the author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He facilitates CRM’s Partnering Campus Network and also gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.