Wednesday, January 17, 2007

5 models of campus ministry

It is worth noting that, on the whole question of the relationship between church & parachurch on Campus, there are many different models out there as to how they sould relate.

I should say up front that I think there is no one structural model that will guarantee a ministry that is both effective in reaching students with the gospel and edifying rather than undermining the unique ministry of the local church.

I will here outline several (though not an exhaustive list) models, and lay out potential benefits & challenges of each model. I am yet to be convinced that any of these models are apriori unbiblical. What I would love to see is campus ministries that are aware of sinful tendencies to place inappropriate burdens on the shoulders of immature Christians, and of undermining the unique ministry of the local church.

1) Local church only. In this model there is no place for the para-church. Here each local church is responsible for their own ministry & outreach to students. Perhaps this would be closest to the article previously quoted from CSM in the UK.

2) National organisation, local church leadership. Each "franchise" of a parachurch is responsible to one particular local church. Thus, the staff workers in that "franchise" will be entirely accountible to the eldership of that one local church. This would be the model of Campus Outreach here in the USA.

3) Self-contained Parachurch. The 'leadership' of the Campus ministry is comprised of full time workers whose accountibility is within that parachurch organisation on a regional and national level. This would be the Campus Crusade Model.

4) Student Leadership. The full time workers in the parachurch organisation have a similar structure to Campus Crusade, but constitutionally each Campus ministry is in fact student lead. The staff workers therefore function as advisors rather than calling all the shots. The student leaders would receive counsel from them, but might also have advice & discipleship from their local churches. This would be the model of UCCF in the UK and IVF in the USA.

5) Gospel Partnership of several local churches. This is the model that we have adopted here in Washington DC not actually for our campus ministry, but for an evangelistic ministry that we have started to reach people in the workplace with the gospel. I know of several places where this model is used of workers in primary & secondary education, but don't know of this model being adopted anywhere for ministry to College Students.

Next, I shall blog on the strengths and weaknesses of each model.


Gareth said...

Just to let you know that #5, wouldn't be allowed on campuses in the UK. At least here in Nottingham the only Christian groups allowed to operate on campus are those who are registered as student socities.

I'm looking forward to what else you come up with, I've been blogging this stuff here.

Mike Gilbart-Smith said...

I'm sure there could be a way for students to organise so that they register as a student society, but have an honorary board comprised of leaders from various local churches.

Gareth said...

Well, in a way thats what CUs in the UK all ready do. Each CU has an 'advisory committee' comprised of the local church leaders which meets together a few times a term with the exec. The exec members give reports about what it is they have been doing, how they think its going, ideas etc for the future. The leaders then get to ask the exec questions and help guide them through the coming challenges.

Plus all the members of the exec are involved in the different local churches and I know that they keep in good contact and receive further guidance from their churches. As far as I can see, the Churches are involved in how Nottingham University Christian Union operates.

For a society to have the freedom of campus, it needs to be a completely student run society. Otherwise if it is seen to be run by an external 'honourary board' it won't be allowed the priviledges that it would otherwise be entitled to. (Such as free use of SU rooms, ability to advertise, SU bank accounts, etc)

Luke Wood said...

I think we in the UK still have a way to go in terms of subtly making use of the provisions that are available. For example, why not hire a university building to host an event or two? The liklihood is that using a venue on campus also gives you advertising priveleges on campus.

I think there is a lot that can legitimately be done by local churches that isn't already.