By Mark A. Taylor
Several facts are clear as we look at reports from colleges and campus ministries in this issue:
• These are tough times for Christian colleges. As more than one writer mentions, a perfect storm of difficult situations has caused much navel-gazing and budget cutting among college administrators everywhere. Small secular colleges are facing many of the same pressures, and this is some consolation, but not enough. If the economic or cultural climate is jeopardizing the future of public colleges, why should we believe it won’t threaten “ours” as well?
• But despite the threats, God is working on campuses everywhere. Our stories this month give only a hint of the creative programs, visionary plans, and changed lives resulting from the ministries of Christian colleges and campus ministries.
• We’re all in this together. A generation ago, some on Christian college campuses thought themselves more spiritual or effective than Christians in secular schools. And others thought training vocational Christian workers was somehow holier than educating Christians for any career. Those days are gone.
God is at work on campus! At Bible colleges, Christian colleges, Christian liberal arts colleges, and through campus ministries at secular universities. That’s one reason we decided to combine in one issue our annual Christian college fact sheet (page 34) with our annual campus ministry directory (page 48). A dying world needs thoroughly committed young disciples, and the evidence shows they can be developed in many settings.
I still worry about Christian parents who send their kids off to college without any discussion or investigation about how faith development will happen on their chosen campus. We’re hoping the encouraging reports and thoughtful articles in this issue will be required reading for every family with a high school junior or senior as well as the youth ministers who know them.
The ministries listed in this issue need our encouragement, emotionally and physically as well as financially. The result of our engagement will help us as well as the colleges and campus ministries we support. When we learn about and lift up the college ministries close to us, we may discover how God is working in our lives too.
We’re introducing a new feature this month, “Best Practices.” Find this useful assortment of facts and tips about all kinds of ministry on pages 58-61, and let us know what you think. Or visit writer Mike Mack’s Facebook page, “Ministry Best Practices,” and share your ideas for him to include in a future column. We know many readers have ministry success that can help all of us.