Nov 09, 2015

Campus, Reach

Majority Minority Campus Ministry

Tim Casteel writes about how the rise of the majority minority campus should affect the way you think about reaching your campus.

Cru was started in 1951 on the UCLA campus by Bill and Vonette Bright. In 1951, UCLA was 98% white.

Here’s what UCLA looks like today:

34% asian
27% white
19% hispanic
13% international student

Year after year, the college campus is becoming more ethnically diverse. Several states have already reached a majority minority status on their college/university campuses.

California has 2.7 million students – over 1.7 million of those students are ethnic minorities. According to Miriam Jordan in the Wall Street Journal, “Latinos account for 29% of the Californians admitted for this fall’s freshman class, topping the 27% share of whites. Both trail the 36% share for Asians.”

Texas has over 1.5 million students – half a million of those are Hispanic students.

The entire U.S. college population is predicted, by some, to be majority minority by 2020.

Here are some questions we need to ask ourselves:

  • How well does the diversity in your ministry reflect your campus’ demographics?
  • Have you spoken with an ethnic minority student about why they did or did not join your ministry?
  • What do you think needs to change in order to for your ministry to reflect your campus’ diversity?

This is some great vision from Sam Osterloh, Cru’s Executive Director of Ethnic Field Ministry:

In 1951 when Bill Bright spoke of the teeming numbers of college students that would change  the world, there were less than 4 million total in the U.S., and only about 1% were ethnic minority. Today there are 21 million students in the U.S., and the diversity of the college campus is very near the point where half of all students are ethnic minority. The collegiate landscape has changed dramatically.

Yet, it is among this group that we might find those who are most open to the gospel. Consider that in 1951 majority Anglo culture was largely characterized as familial and having a religious foundation. When Cru flashed on the scene and the simple gospel message was shared, large numbers of students and faculty were ready to respond to the invitation of a personal relationship with Jesus. Today, in the majority culture we find an audience that is not as it was in the 50’s and 60’s, certainly with less of a religious base or foundation. However, in most ethnic audiences, generally, we find a reality that is more like the landscape of past generations with a familial context and with something more of a religious foundation. It would seem, that among ethnic minority students and faculty the possibility for spiritual awakening is latent and ripe. Jake Tarr describes this potential awakening as a windfall, where the wind of the Spirit sweeps across an orchard ripe with fruit and the fruit simply falls from the trees.

Nationwide in Cru, 1 in 27 gospel presentations result in someone trusting Christ. For Destino (a Cru ministry dedicated to raising up leaders from the Latino and Hispanic community), that number is 1 in 7 (read more in the CruPressGreen article, “Destino Statistics Challenge“).

The harvest is plentiful. Will we labor in the fields?

What is your team doing to reach ethnic minority students?

about the author

Tim Casteel

Tim works in college ministry at a university in Arkansas.