Jerry Arnold serves on the board of directors of Christian Student Fellowship of Nebraska. His father, Gerald Sr., was a charter member of the board and put the family farm up as collateral for the first campus house.
John Strouse served on the board of directors for Christian Student Foundation at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, from 1969 to 2005. His wife, Lois, was secretary of the campus ministry for 26 years.
Melody Hornickel also serves with Christian Student Foundation at Ball State. She and her husband, Russ (an alumnus of the campus ministry), attend Post Road Christian Church in Indianapolis, where they are involved with youth ministry.
David Malooley is associate professor of electronics and computer engineering technology at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. He helps lead the SCAMPS campus ministry board there.
Ed Hackel farms in Nebraska and has served on the board of directors for Christian Student Fellowship for 37 years. He helped the ministry through a merger from two separate ministries into one statewide campus ministry organization. At the meetings, he sometimes sits next to his daughter, Lindsey, who also serves as a board member.
By Greg Swinney
Each of you has served on a campus ministry board of directors for more than 25 years. Why do you see this as such an essential ministry of the church?
Jerry Arnold: When high school seniors leave home and go to college, it is very easy to stray from their faith. Campus ministry reminds them of life’s true priorities. Put God first, and everything else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33). What good is it to get a great education, go on to a lucrative career, and lose your soul?
David Malooley: As a member of the university faculty, and as a Christian, I have a unique vantage point. I observe firsthand the influences upon students from the entire community of academia. Whether in the classroom, the community, residential life, or extracurricular activities involving the students at a university, there often exists a very limited amount of positive, morally focused, and spiritually bounded aspects to help students become better individuals. More than 30 years ago I saw a light upon the hilltop in the Christian campus ministry. Here’s a ministry to offer students a refuge from the negative influences and a place to direct students who are seeking a higher purpose in life.
Melody Hornickel: This is such an important time in the lives of young people. It is when they really question their faith. During college life, young people decide whether to go to church on their own. They make career decisions and often meet their spouse during these years.
Ed Hackel: Campus ministry seems to be a very effective way to positively affect the future of our culture. It gives the gospel a foothold in shaping the hearts and minds of our future leaders.
Share one of your greatest joys or rewards in serving on a campus ministry leadership team.
John Strouse: I served long enough to actually see several former students return to serve on the board of directors. Also, many children of former students are now active in the campus Bible studies, which is a testimony to the generational impact of campus ministry. I know of several examples of international students who were active in the campus ministry. They returned to their home countries with a great foundation for being effective Christian witnesses in their communities.
Arnold: One of the greatest joys for me has been meeting and discipling students on short-term mission trips. I have witnessed firsthand the deep commitment of these young people in serving their Lord and Savior. Leadership in the churches around this country, and even around the world, will be in very capable hands when these students graduate and get involved in a local church.
Malooley: Seeing students become Christians is by far the greatest joy I experience in this ministry. Beyond that, the number of students who have had their lives changed by the steady Christian influence of campus ministry is overwhelming. For some, it serves as a lifeboat that gets them through a crisis; for others, it becomes a lifelong part of their being—a foundational block of their life. Whatever the end result, the spiritual direction provided molds each into a different person from when he or she came. What a gift to be part of such a great work!
Hackel: I feel honored to serve both as a member of a campus ministry board and also on the board of trustees of Nebraska Christian College. As I hear the stories of the transformed lives of the young people who are part of these ministries, and how they are equipped as future leaders, I am overjoyed and very grateful. My daughter, Lindsey, is one of those individuals.
What do you believe are the primary “fruits” of campus ministry for the Lord’s kingdom?
Arnold: I see the importance of reaching college students—the future leaders of this country at all levels and career fields. When we see where campus ministry alumni are serving today (education, medicine, politics, and missions), we begin to realize what a great investment this is for the kingdom.
Malooley: The fruit of our evangelistic efforts and seeing students surrender to Jesus is amazing. The equally important fruit, however, is the establishment of a firm belief structure in those tempted to turn away and lose their faith. Christ’s admonition to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded” is just as valuable as reaching the lost.
Hornickel: Both my husband and I came to know the Lord through campus ministry and it is where we met. We are a living testimony of the fruit of campus ministry.
Greg Swinney serves as ministry facilitator with Crossroads International Student Ministries, Kearney, Nebraska.