International Campus Ministry Conference
The working of God through the labor and cooperation of the campus ministry service team over the last 7 years has been encouraging. In 2005, the San Antonio church hosted the first of the International Campus Ministry Conferences and had some 200 people focused on campus ministry who attended. Over the following 6 years different churches within the US have hosted this conference: LA, Boston, Baton Rouge, Virginia & LA, Chicago, and Athens & Denver.
Every year we have seen tremendous signs of growth in the US campus ministries. There are a number of signs that the campus ministries of our churches regained health and strength. Some of these indicators are the number of campus converts, the amount of young campus ministers or campus minister want-to-be’s and the attendance of the ICMC’s being held annually. We have seen the attendance of our conference move from 200 to 500 to 1000 to 2000. This past summer the ICMC was split and had a combined attendance of 2500 fervent college disciples in attendance! We expect and hope the attendance of college students for the WDS will be well over 3000.
Members of the campus service committee
The members of the campus service team work in an incredible unified and cooperative way. The Campus service team consists of Troy Criss (Gainesville, FL), Kevin Thompson (Athens, GA), Forest Versele (Roanoke, VA), John Markowski (NY, NY), Chris Zillman (Chicago, IL), Vince Hawkins (Columbia, MI), John Lusk (Denver, CO), Marty Wilkinson (San Antonio, TX), Steve Lounesbury (Los Angeles, CA), Steve Stevenson (Los Angeles, CA), and Alex Whitaker (Seattle, WA) and is chaired by Kevin Miller (Boston, MA). Over the last 5 years this group has come together in a great way, is deeply united in spirit and purpose and is looking to add some new members.
At certain times brothers from churches outside the US have worked with the campus committee but at present the service team is in need of more participation from international people.
The primary work that the service team has striven to provide is:
- The growth in spirit and numbers of campus ministries primarily within the US but increasingly to international cities that want help.
- The development of full-time and non-full time leadership among the youth of the church world-wide.
- The establishing and planting of campus ministries across the US and around the world.
- The planning of the annual ICMC.
- The development of a campus ministry directory for our churches.
- The creation of the One Year Challenge (OYC) concept and program.
The One Year Challenge
The OYC challenge is a concept that was proposed by Tom Brown several years ago. At its essence the OYC is the idea that college students, upon their graduation, would go to the ministers in their local congregations and say ‘Here am I send me’, and offer themselves to the church to serve in whatever way seems best to the leadership of that church.
By all accounts this aspect of the OYC has been widely praised and very successful.
Beyond this, the OYC challenge also involves offering interested college graduates something more radical. Sites have been selected for one year mission trips for those willing to go and serve upon graduation. Over the last few years church plantings and campus plantings have suffered because the number of people going on these initial plantings have been less than in the past. The OYC would offer selected sites the potential boost of having 5 to 10 college grads to come and support the work in its early years.
While this aspect of the OYC is still being molded and shaped and is still gaining momentum in its early phase, plantings like Portland, ME and Johannesburg, South Africa have been encouraged with over 5 to 10 people from around the US giving a year of their lives to get the church or a campus ministry rebuild off the ground.
The response over the last couple years has been extremely encouraging as students from around the country are sacrificing in various ways to give back to the churches that provided them a great spiritual home during their college years, as well as some going to the selected sites.
Steve Stevenson and Troy Criss have played prominent roles in creating a selection process for the potential students and the potential sites.
Chris Zillman has taken lead putting together a campus directory for the campus ministries within the US. This directory can be found by going to the Disciples Today website.
Unity, Fellowship and Future Goals
The Campus Ministry Service Committee is passionate about what we are doing and find the work to be a joy. One of our hopes for the future is to get increased participation from campus ministers worldwide and to see the campus revival spread internationally and in the US where campus ministries have not yet been built. Please pray that God will continue to bless our work in the US and around the globe.