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Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Matthew1344, Sep 5, 2014.
What are yalls thoughts on student ministry?
Any and every thought is fine to put down.
Any ministry should point students to Christ and to His visible Church. Navigators, Campus Crusade, InterVarsity et al do not necessarily point their participants to the Church.
PCA's Reformed University Ministries comes closest to doing it right.
They use ordained pastors. They don't replace the local church. They don't invest in bricks and mortar.
There is something about the student ministries my local church is involved with that bothers me, but I am not sure that I can put my finger on it. I am a member of a PCA church, however, we (the church) are not involved with RUF. We are heavily invested in Campus Outreach and Medical Campus Outreach.t It seems to me that these groups become a very isolated part of our church. Almost cult like. That's an exaggeration, but it's the only way to describe it. They seem to interact only with themselves, and I worry that it becomes very off putting for students in our church who are not a part of these groups. They have their own Sunday School classes, etc... It's great to reach into local colleges and medical colleges, but I really don't like the divisions that it seems to me to cause.
It's difficult for me to conclude, but here are a few stray observations, while this topic is fresh.
Positive: I find that my campus ministry is fairly similar to that found in the local PCA church, doctrinally speaking, which is a blessing. Furthermore, there's a certain academic focus that we can apply to studying the Scriptures together, in specific counter to the falsehood that the professors are throwing at the students. There are more opportunities for discipleship, mentoring, and fellowship on the college campus by virtue of both our similar schedules and dedicated campus ministers. College students often report an inability to connect with church members, as they rely almost entirely on the hospitality of others. Often, campus ministries are the only ones showing them hospitality.
My greatest consternations lie in its lack of accountability to any local church body (making discipline difficult, although that's not necessarily common in any of the local bodies to begin with) and its lack of diversity. Even though there is probably more racial, national, and economic diversity in the ministry than any church in my city, we are almost invariably college students between the ages of 18 and 22. That is not what the body of Christ actually looks like, age-wise or circumstantially. It's a little like cutting of certain parts of Christ's body.
For what it's worth, I would either advise local churches to dispatch those who can specifically offer pastoral care and Bible studies to local colleges, or encourage campus ministries to attach themselves to a local, active, and doctrinally-sound church. The rest is up to the church members.
As a student, I find groups like Campus Crusade frustrating. They need to point people to church, as many student participants seem to be unchurched. Additionally, the teaching is also frustrating (at least here at the University of Iowa). The current series here is "Rebellion." Why we need to be rebels (SMH). The first points made in the first sermon were, "Christianity isn't a religion, it isn't about following a list of rule (true in a sense but come on, would they say I shouldn't follow that list of 10 rules:the ten commandments?), etc. The last thing that many antinomians need to hear is that there are no rules. He then proceeded to say that Christianity is about rebellion. I was about to rip my hair out and scream!
Nethertheless, it has been instrumental for me meeting a couple Christian friends. It has its place, but it should definitely be under the authority of a church.
My favorite on campus ministry is one that is under the authority of a church. On Wednesday nights, I go to a LCMS lutheran church for a time of prayer and some worship, followed by a bible study. It is ten times as beneficial as Cru is.
The only campus ministry I've seen run by ... ministers(!) as part of the visible church is RUF. The man I help support here in Denton is accountable to his session and presbytery. He points the students to the local Denton PCA church.
And the last group study he did with the students was on the 10 Commandments, which seems a far cry from some of the stories above. Yikes.
I want to echo what has been said about RUF. The priority on ordained ministers is a major plus. When I was in college we were repeatedly told by the campus minister to place local church involvement ahead of anything with RUF.
I think it's a great ministry, and I'm glad to see the impact it is having on campuses all over the country.
I also attend a PCA church and Edward explains why the tension we both have. My kids were not involved in Campus Crusade for Christ or any other "ministry" while in collage. They are encouraged by myself and my wife to follow The Lord in the vocation He chooses for them. To call every "good work" a minisrty in the biblical sense of the word only confuses the layman in the pew and I am putting "my finger on" this problem in my responce.
The fellowship that such organizations offer can be very useful and edifying for a young Christian. It was for me when I participated in one.
However, I would caution about two things:
1. Immaturity. Oftentimes the people involved with such organizations are just living out what they learned in their youth groups (i. e. immature, self-centered, "cool" Christianity). Don't let them suck you into their irreverence.
2. Will-worship services. Their chapel services provide a false model for public worship. If you can find an exception, I'd love to hear of it.
Campus minitries are useful, but should be pulling students into church rather than serving as an alternative that pulls them away from church.
When I was in college, I joined a campus ministry that helped provide Christian fellowship, encouragement, and campus-oriented projects that the small Reformed church I joined would not have been able to provide on its own. Within a year, I became the IVCF campus president at a large university. Yet, my involvement in the campus ministry was never as great as my invovlement in the church. Church was where I worshiped, taught Sunday school, participated in work days, gave my offerings, spent Sunday afternoons with families, prayed at the bedside of a dying man, found babysitting jobs, got help buying a car, etc.
Campus ministries can't (and shouldn't try to) provide the depth of blessings and duties that come from being part of a local church. Those that work as a cooperative tag-on to church ministries rather than as an alternative to them are doing it rightly.
I'm all to aware of these two things. I don't know if I can continue attending these events. I just feel like telling the whole time. Compared to my worship on the Lord's Day, it is wholly inferior. The best ministry here seems to be the Lutheran one. I had a glorious time of worship, prayer, and bible study-- all led by the pastor of the church.
The Christian Union at my university (York), as well as organising campus meetings and outreach events, help students to find churches.
The UCCF (the British university Christian unions) have a solid doctrinal basis and don't seem to bow to the pressures of the world.
Student ministry is a very important area. I myself, by God's grace, became a Christian at university and I certainly felt supported.