Where are all the campus ministers

explore-binocs  A few years ago I joined the National Campus Ministry Association and showed up at a conference in Kansas City. I found myself face to face with many of the most brilliant minds in the field that known as campus ministry. I sat around with most everyone and heard their stories, met some spouses, and generally just listened. I got pretty involved in campus ministry and in the NCMA through this conference. I’ve also been to a Baptist Campus Ministers Association and the United Methodist Campus Ministers Association a couple of times. Every time I meet some people I hear their stories and try to understand what is happening in campus ministry. Ultimately though, I often ask myself no matter the gathering, where is everyone?

Unfortunately the reality is that there are simply few of us left. Many schools have had campus ministries close their doors because of funding cuts. Historic ministries with huge ties to the university campuses they serve have simply vanished, as if they have been erased by history. Some of us claim to know where they are, but really, where have all the campus ministers and the campus ministries gone? We need to find each other, those of us who are the last of a dying profession. We need to find each other in order to have hope. But what we really need is to find each other in order to rebuild.

As I move this blog forward once again, trying to bring about discussion and dialogue about the field of higher education ministry, better known as campus ministry (but chaplains need be included as well), I’m looking for where the campus ministers are. You should connect your colleagues to this blog, helping us all to be in dialogue. You should bring this up in the discussions with your association of religious workers and we should figure out where all the campus ministers are. We’re better off when we are connected, and especially as new campus ministers and chaplains enter the field, there are great ways to be in discussion and dialogue.

I don’t expect that this blog can rebuild the field, in fact I believe the only way to rebuild the field is for us to work together. This blog is simply meant to be a way to bring us together. Then, from organizations like the NCMA and denominational gatherings, we might start to ask ourselves how to start from where we are and at first sustain, then regrow our ministries. Campus ministry does matter, and by discussion our challenges and opportunities, we might actually start to fix the matters at hand in the field.

For those of you who may also be interested, I’m running a sister blog at http://www.spiritualityoncampus.com that is more focused on higher education research and dialogues about we as campus ministers and chaplains can become more entrenched in the university at large. This is important because if we don’t see ourselves as part of the larger story of higher education, then we are missing a vital point of our ministry opportunities. Perhaps you don’t believe me, but I will tell you that higher education may begin to embrace more of spirituality on campus sooner than later.

Thanks for supporting this blog, and thanks for telling your friends.

Cody

 
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One thought on “Where are all the campus ministers”

  1. Good luck, Cody. Campus ministry has always meant a lot to me, and it saddens me to see programs struggling and closing. Barbara Essex is the campus minister in Cleveland now, and working hard to keep it vital. I hope you have had a chance to connect with her.

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