The campus service team is very heartened by the continued growth in the campus ministries of our churches in the US and around the world. The momentum and unity that started in a small gathering of campus ministers in January of 2006 has continued to grow from that meeting and has blossomed into many areas of church health that are visible and recordable: greater numbers of college students being converted, a great increase in the attendances of our ICMC’s in the US, campus conferences being hosted by international churches around the world, great numbers of college students graduating and going into the ministry in various campus and teen opportunities, the creation and growth of One Year Challenge (OYC) programs, campus centered church plantings happening more and more, larger churches’ campus ministries growing bigger and bigger and new campus ministries being started. All of these things and more are signs that what began with a very small number of participants at our first ICMC in San Antonio in 2005 has continued to build in the last 7 years into healthy campus ministries within the co-operation churches.
The growing number of conversions within our campus ministries has been exciting and obvious to those working with those ministries. The number of new and young faces at our conferences every year both attending and preaching is a sure sign of health in the campuses. Leaders are clearly raising up from both kingdom kid and gentile origins.
Seven years ago at our first ICMC in San Antonio there were some 200 campus participants and many of those were not college students, but as the last 7 years have gone by we have seen that number rise to 500, then 1000, 1500, 2000 and this past years we had over 2500 students meet in 2 different locations, one in Denver and another in Athens, GA. As of the writing of this report we have over 2500 students registered for the WDS in San Antonio. God has definitely been moving as we have seen many young preachers arise, the fervor of the group overall has been tremendous, the worship is amazing. It has been refreshing to those working on the service committee to see many of our mentors come and see the college students and leave rejuvenated with a sense of confidence that we can move into the next generation as a church victorious for the Lord! The 2013 US ICMC’s will be held in San Diego, CA and Orlando, FL.
Churches like the Los Angeles Church of Christ have redefined what big cities and big churches can become in terms of size of a campus ministry as they have literally grown to hundreds and hundreds of college students in one church. We have also seen churches like the Gainesville, Florida church, which is a relatively small church located in a campus town, be a tremendous light across our fellowship as they have created a culture of sending campus ministers and strong Christians into churches across the country and the world. Examples like these have been spread across the country over the last few years and have resulted in the fervor that has been experienced among the college ministry.
Another positive note has been the partnership of the ICMC’s with HOPEww just about every year as college students have dynamically served the needy. In Baton Rouge we served in some of the poorest area’s hit by hurricane Katrina, the students served in the poorer areas of inner city Chicago in 2010 and last year in Athens we raised money for a road race we all took part in. The committee looks forward to continuing our teamwork with HOPEww in the years ahead.
An area that we have seen progress in but that certainly needs more attention is in the area of campus growth outside of the US. The committee could use more participation from campus focused evangelists in international churches. As well we would like to see campus conferences continuing to be hosted and held by influence centers outside of the US. And lastly, it seems that the need for leaders who have been a part of thriving campus ministries need to be willing to go to international cities and start campus ministries.
One of the great developments as seen by the committee of the last few years has been the increase of newly hired and young campus ministers present at the ICMC’s and all around the country. Churches are producing graduates that are proficient bible talk leaders who have the desire to use their talents building the church in campus and teen ministries on both US and international soil. A big difference between campus conferences 6 years ago and today are the sheer number of teachers under 25 and 30 years old serving across the conference schedules.
Just this past year the Boston Church has seen three of its Harvard graduates take jobs in the ministry while two other grads got married and came back from their honeymoon to go directly in the ministry in Long Island, NY. Another student left a week after her graduation ceremony to enter into the ministry as a campus minister in the New Haven, CT Church of Christ. In 2005 there were two campus ministers from the family of New England churches who attended the ICMC in San Antonio. Today there are over 20 different ministers serving in the campus ministry across New England. This is representative of a change across the US churches and one we hope to see develop more and more internationally in the years ahead.
The One Year Challenge (OYC) was a service program inspired by Tom Brown and embraced and promoted over the last few years by the Campus Service Team and at the campus conferences. There are two different elements of the OYC.
1) College students presenting themselves to the minister of their home church as they are graduating and asking how they can serve in the following year. And for one year at least this student may even suspend pursuit of their ultimate career in order to spend generous amounts of time serving in the teens, or possibly as a campus shepherd, or a low budget campus minister, etc…This element of the OYC has been very successful as communicated by churches across the US.
2) The Campus Service Team choosing sites across our fellowship that need more help and calling for some students to take the OYC in a different location in order to help different efforts that are in need or possibly more strategically important at a given time. For example, the Boston Church sent out a domestic church planting to Portland, ME this past year. The New England churches sent some 15 older disciples to go with the team, but the OYC challenge also sent some 10 to 15 recent graduates with the team in order to the get the campus ministry off the ground quickly. There have been efforts like this made around the world in places like South Africa, Australia, Europe, etc…In the years ahead we hope to see the OYC become a part of the culture of our churches giving outlets for graduating students to serve in ways beyond just going into the campus ministry.
This next year the 4 OYC sites that have been chosen are:
College Station, Texas led by Marty Wilkinson
Charleston, West Virginia led by Rich Bartoli
Columbia, Missouri led by Vince Hawkins
Sydney, Australia led by Forest Versele
The Campus Service Team is very excited about all that will do in the years ahead. There is a great wave of momentum, faith and unity currently being experienced with the campus ministries. Please pray that God will continue to bless the efforts of the campus ministries.
Kevin Miller – Boston, MA
Chris Zillman – Chicago, IL
Tom Brown – Atlanta, GA
Troy Criss – Gainesville, FL
Forest Versele – Roanoke, VA
Alex Whitaker – Seattle, WA
Marty Wilkinson – San Antonio, TX
Steve Stevenson – Los Angeles, CA
Steve Lounsbury – Los Angeles, CA