Just A Theory

Okay, I write this knowing full well that I could be wrong… which happens a lot. And, given my current time crunch, I’m going to be brief. But I’m about to hit the 3-year mark serving as campus minister here at Bama (which means I’m very much a baby in all of this), and I have a theory. It’s nothing groundbreaking or new. It’s actually something people have bandied about for awhile now. But, I think it’s starting to hit home with me and I’m thinking it may affect how we do things here in T-town. So, I thought I’d write it out, put it on “paper,” not really knowing what this means or how/if I’m going to handle this…

The thing is, the more I listen to my students, the more I really, really believe that they are turned on more so by small, intentional, intimate communities of faith rather than larger, megachurchy sorts of places. And I have to wonder if that’s where the Church is headed… and, in my world, if that’s where our campus ministry needs to look.

Now, let me add this caveat: Westminster Fellowship is a smallish campus ministry. We’re probably about 60 students strong, which is teeny tiny compared to a couple of other campus ministries here in town. So, the students who come here are probably already attracted to smaller communities. But we’re also a growing ministry… our students are psyched about bringing in new faces and the emergence of a vibrant, sizable freshman class.

But the thing they also are incredibly conscious of centers around a question I’ve heard them ask a hundred times: how do we grow while maintaining a sense of intimacy here? Because, for them, that’s the selling point of who we are. It’s kind of our niche… along with the fact that, unlike other campus ministries, our big night is a Bible study (as opposed to a worship service). Discipleship, Community, Energy all go hand in hand with being a group where, for the most part, everybody knows everybody else. Which can make us feel, at our best, like a reeeeeallly welcoming family… and, at our worst, like a clique. Anonymity isn’t something we do here… and our students love that. Which may be why we’re growing…

I’m beginning to wonder if the future of what we do here, then, isn’t expanding our Monday night study and hoping for a night where we pack 100 students in the building. Instead, I wonder if we should look at the possibility of creating other groups that meet at other times and focusing our energy on growth (in its various manifestations) there. We already have our men’s group, Man Time. We have a women’s group, WWF. What if those groups continue to evolve and change and grow… much like their students? What if that’s the future of our community here in Tuscaloosa?

Or would that all feel a bit disjointed, like we have a bunch of different groups but not one BIG group that feeds the smaller ones? I don’t know… I’m just spitballin’ here.

Like I said, I don’t what this means… but it may mean somethin’. Sooooo…. yeah.

~ by presbytide on October 19, 2010.

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