Community

This past week was a reminder of what a community of churches are good for.

Last week some 30 college students from 3 or 4 churches in Virginia and Ohio came to spend their spring break in Columbus, sharing their faith on the campus of Ohio State. This week there are several more picking up where they left off. The first wave made some 300 contacts and have around 30 students in personal Bible studies.

We have had no campus ministry for the last few years. Many have been longing for a way to restart that ministry, looking to put resources and time into it including hiring a campus minister. I have not been one of them, rather I felt that we should instead focus on who we are - a church of mostly married folks with families. Campus could wait, we were a church of families now. I was wrong.

Having those college folks here with their zeal made me realize two things. One, I'm getting old. Wow those college folks looked young. Two, there's been a hole in our church where the campus folks were. Without a campus ministry and the youthful zeal they bring we have been a little less diverse. I hadn't realized what was missing until they came to town.

As I looked at those kids last Wednesday, I was taken back to my campus ministry days. Good times. I couldn't do now what I did then, but our church needs folks who can just like it needs 40 year old bald guys with preteens. I hope that this is the spark that will ignite the campus ministry.

Also, this past weekend, we had one of the elders and his wife, Walter and Kim Evans, from the Philadelphia Church of Christ in for a parenting workshop. What a great time and great lesson. Good practical advice, I'll try to post my notes at some point. (Better yet, listen for yourself, an MP3 file is available on our church's sermons page.)

Walter also spoke at our church leaders meeting of the transitions the Philly church has been through over the past 5 years or so. He took questions and offered his observations on our teen ministry from an event he attended as well as on the campus student swap. His thoughts were the opposite of mine. We were not in the wrong spot to begin a campus ministry, rather we were set up perfectly. A strong campus ministry needs the stability of families behind it. He's seen both, a church of mostly families began a strong campus ministry in Bloomington IL but in State College PA, an attempt to start a church of primarily college students failed. He was quite optimistic about our chances and called the campus swap the 'opening shot'.

I've been skeptical of outside involvement in our church for some time. I was skeptical - actually, more like cynical - about these two events as well. In the end I was reminded of how powerful the community of churches and relationships of the ICOC was.



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