Aug 31, 2015
Reflecting On A Year with Collegiate Collective
Chase Abner shares some observations about what he’s learned from a year with Collegiate Collective.
It’s now been a little over a year since we formally launched Collegiate Collective. On August 11, 2014, we made our official debut with a crowd of leaders at a conference in Glorieta, NM. Our team honestly didn’t know all that God had in store for us. And I can speak for the rest of the team in saying that we’ve been amazed at how God has used Collegiate Collective to make a difference around the nation.
In celebration of our “first birthday,” I thought I’d share a few observations from the past year.
1. Collegiate leaders are some of the brightest leaders in the Church.
Where else does the population turnover so quickly? Where else is there so much intellectual capacity in one place? Where else does culture shift so aggressively?
Collegiate leaders are on the front lines in the most strategic and difficult mission field in the world. They are proclaiming ancient truth in places where new ideas are championed. They are rubbing shoulders with the smartest people in the world. They are planning ministry and building relationships where faces and rules change by the semester.
And yet we see God doing amazing things on our campuses. We are seeing incredibly creative ideas born in these environments. We are seeing thought leaders raised up who are not only influencing collegiate ministry, but are becoming thought leaders in a variety of ministry contexts.
I don’t say this to boast in myself, but to brag on what I see God doing through you, my friends. I’m learning new things week by week as I read your posts and tweets. I only wish I could read more of your ideas, which leads to…
2. There is a need for more resource sharing among collegiate leaders.
While there are many bright leaders in the collegiate ministry world, it has been surprisingly difficult to find those who are sharing their ideas with others. For many, they have such a laser focus on ministering to their campus that they simply don’t have time or energy for sharing their strategies with others. In other words, they have been successful on their campus because they’ve said, “No!” to spreading themselves beyond their campus.
While I love that commitment, I also sorta hate it. As I’m reading posts on our site, I regularly say, “I wish I would’ve had that idea when I started college ministry ten years ago!” If you’re reading this, chances are that you are a collegiate leader who is doing something in your ministry that would be a major help to a leader somewhere else. Won’t you consider putting it on paper and sharing it with us? Share it with us on Twitter or drop us an email.
Also, if you know a leader who has great ideas, let him/her know… and then let us know!
3. God is up to amazing things on our campuses.
While it’s tempting to look at our society and be discouraged by all the sin and suffering around us, I’m also super-encouraged when I look at what God is doing through collegiate ministries around the US and Canada. Here’s a brief list of things that excite me right now. And this is by no means an exhaustive list!
- Gus Hernandez is pioneering new models for reaching campuses across Miami.
- Cru leaders like Tim Casteel, Paul Nunez, and Angel McCurdy, are continuing to find new ways to share their ideas! (As if CruPressGreen wasn’t already a huge treasure!)
- The Gracepoint family is aggressively pursuing a vision to see “an Acts 2 church in every college town.”
- Church-based ministries are kicking off well this fall! Noe Garcia of Cross Church (Fayetteville, AR) saw fantastic response as they kicked off the semester with over 2,000 students at their worship event on campus. The Salt Company family saw our largest kickoff events yet with 1,960 people at our event at Iowa State, 460 at University of Iowa, and over 500 at University of Northern Iowa!
- Campus Ministry Toolbox is about to re-launch as Campus Ministry Today and has assembled an impressive team of leaders.
- Christian Challenge at Chico State University has seen 20 students follow Christ since outreach began this semester!
I wish I had the time and space to continue. I’m hearing about things each week that astound and inspire me.
And yet there are still millions of students on our campuses who have yet to even hear the gospel. There are still campuses that lack a church or ministry that is intentionally reaching the student population. There are tens of thousands of international students flooding our campuses.
That, my friends, is why I am eager to continue serving leaders through Collegiate Collective. Now, more than ever, we need to help one another to elevate and advance the gospel on campus. We need to be advocates for each other’s ministries, even if our strategies don’t line up… even if our funding models differ… and even when our doctrinal commitments put us in different churches.
There is room here for all those who agree that Jesus Christ, through his death and resurrection, offers the only hope for college students and the rest of mankind. What a joy it is to champion that hope with you!
Thanks for being a part of the community!