Reaching the Campus Tribes -- More Reflections

Posted by tom | May 3, 2009

For those interested, a little bit more on Reaching the Campus Tribes than what I posted yesterday at "Reaching the Campus Tribes" -- Reflections. ...

As many of you know, during my first year at Grove City College, I found myself at the foot of the cross overwhelmed by the reality of the cross as where evil is conquered by the ultimate degree of love in the fulfillment of justice [Henri Blocher, Evil and the Cross: An Analytical Look at the Problem of Pain (English Version), Downers Grove,IL:  InterVarsity Press, 1994, p.133].  Shortly afterward I received the call to mission at Urbana Student Missions Convention, became part of Grove City College's InterVarsity Missions Fellowship, began reading lots of InterVarsity Press, dug into religion classes at (while pressing on with my Biology major).  I've come to understand life in the Kingdom of God as a life reproducing the likeness of Jesus as individuals and the Church (the people of God across time and space), i.e., contextual mission.  Where-ever we have been placed, we are salt and light.  Discipling to be part of such a community begins as early as possible.  Remember the recent Culture Making event in partnership with Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ?  Below's the quote from Michael Murray, Philosophy Professor, Franklin & Marshall College, InterVarsity Franklin & Marshall College alumnus:

Events like these are extremely valuable for at least two reasons. First it provides an opportunity to get Christian scholars in a larger region to come together for fellowship and encouragement in a way that meets their distinctive needs. Second, Tom was able to bring in a speaker who could address issues that are of distinctive importance and relevance. Because of the specific nature of the event, it allowed the speaker to address issues that would not be appropriate for a general church audience but which is keenly relevant to Christian scholars. -- IVCF/Groshes: Prayer for Eden's adenoidectomy/Central PA Christian Scholars Network

With regard to the call to bring the whole Gospel to the whole campus, members of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship community receive reinforcement through local, regional, and national training (Note:  This includes Urbana Student Missions Convention and InterVarsity Press).  It was the call of campus mission which drew me to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff at Carnegie Mellon University in 1996.  My labors involved undergrads, grads, faculty/admin, partnership with other campus ministries/local congregations, transition to college/out of college, completing a degree in higher education, taking various continuing education classes ... & I think that hard work is what we're about in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Partnership in the whole campus mission is tough and I've had my failures.  But I'm digging into it even further with the Emerging Scholars Network Blog and the Launch of the Central PA Christian Scholars Network, where I'm connecting undergrads, grads, faculty across campuses through partnerships with local congregations (starting with my own) and various campus structures/missions.  Note:  To hear Byron Borger's review of our launch with Andy Crouch, click here.

Yes, to minister to each generation of students in their particular tribal settings, we must take up the task of ministering among those who form, shape, and direct higher education.  Relating to scholars/administrators, despite the importance of their role and the fact that they cover a spectrum of responses to the faith (from those seeking to follow Christ and make Him known on campus to those in strong opposition), is one of the most neglected areas of campus ministry.  On a number of campuses InterVarsity Christian Fellowship reaches into a multiple contexts to reach people where they are, e.g., fraternity and sororities, international students, in specific and across ethnic groups through our multi-ethnic ministries, nursing programs, professional schools. Not to mention InterVarsity USA is a member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students and partners/enjoys insights from around the globe. Here are links to notes from sessions on Engaging the University (Daniel Bourdanné, General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Student) and The Vocation of Student Mission (John Stackhouse, Regent College Theology Professor) from the Engaging the University: Student Mission and the Christian Mind Conference.  More later. ...

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