C’mon Wheel… Squeak!!!

squeakywheelSo I’ve been playing this campus ministry game for a couple of years now. Pretty much the biggity bomb… that’s right, I used the ‘word’ biggity. It’s my blog, dang it! Anyway, campus ministry really is an awesome place to be, and I find it funny how, when I was in seminary, a lot of my compadres were into youth ministry or solo pastor gigs, but there just weren’t that many people who felt compelled by campus ministry. And why is that? I believe, for better or for worse, we are products of our culture. So, naturally, in a denomination where campus ministry isn’t the strongest of emphases, how can we expect to churn campus ministers out of our seminaries?

Here’s the thing, though… I feel I’ve been pretty hard on the ole denomination lately and, in my crankiness, I’ve overlooked some of the good things that are happening here. The fact of the matter is that the campus ministers that I’ve met are incredibly passionate people and they want a revolution… or maybe it’s an evolution. Regardless, they are calling for change. And we’re seeing pockets of change happen in different places. Take, for instance, the Montreat College Conference. Have y’all heard about it? Just a few short years ago, they were struggling to get a hundred people. Now it’s busting at the seams with 1000 students attending the thing.

And, for what it’s worth, I think we campus ministers are an incredibly dissatisfied lot. I think there’s an understanding that the status quo ain’t good enough, that we’ve been guilty of ignoring a mission field in our own academic backyards, and that it’s time to get out hands dirty and do something about it. That, in my opinion, is a positive step.

I don’t know if this change is going to happen at a denominational level. Unfortunately, we are living in an era of cutbacks, and I fear that the PCUSA will do in its collegiate ministries office sooner rather than later. Understandably, some of my colleagues are jaded because not much has happened recently in the way of denominational support.

However, I think there might be something out there for us… for our students and our campus ministry workers. I don’t know what that looks like, but I think it’ll involve a combination of denominational loyalty and grassroots handiwork. I really do believe we need a common name, we need Continuing Ed events, and we need to be a bit more organized in our strivings to provide a listening ear for our students.

And, you know what else? I think it’s easy for us to sit back and gripe about what we have to do better without doing anything about it. Armchair criticism… worthless. So, when we have an opportunity to come together and start envisioning a new way of doing things, we gotta do it. So, for those of us who moan and groan about the state of things, we need to be at the PACHEM Summit this July in Minneapolis. And we need to be at the various college conferences that are being put on this year.

Silence, in my humble opinion, doesn’t do collegiate ministries any good right now. It’s time to make that squeaky wheel squeak.


~ by presbytide on November 4, 2009.

One Response to “C’mon Wheel… Squeak!!!”

  1. I remember when the college conference started back when I was in college. There were about 120 of us energizing in Upper Anderson. It’s mind-boggling to me that it now pulls in over 1,000 people. Or, maybe not mind-boggling that Montreat can do that. Maybe just unsuprisingly amazing. Makes me happy.

    Good seeing you this weekend! 🙂 LL

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