Saturday, July 26, 2008

Columbia University

I went to Columbia University this Monday morning to do some campus ministry "research." I was hoping to find out how the Gospel might be embodied on a campus like Columbia. The campus was busy with high school hopefuls on tours of the campus. When I first got on to campus I went to the guest services/main library building and picked up some info and a map. They had all college students working in the guest services area and the library was pretty empty. Then I went to the student center. It had a small place for people to eat: Asian, pastries, and a salad/wrap place, all squeezed into one tight little area. Not a great place for large groups, but possibly a good place to meet someone eating by themselves. (I meet lots of people that way) Outside of that room sat a girl at an info booth. So I got some info.

We talked for a while and she shared her experience with the University. She said it was hard to find her nitch at first but she has loved Columbia since she found her place. She said hardly anyone on campus has any school spirit, but everyone has New York City spirit. “There really is something for everyone here” she said as she listed off about 30 student organizations that she knew of or had at least visited. There is even a club for Ronald Regan fans.

Then I went to explore a little more. In the main area of the student center several clubs and organizations had big signs advertising themselves. There were several advertisements for spiritual groups. Among them: Falun Dafa [A powerful practice to improve body, mind and spirit based on universal principles (included a picture of several people meditating on the lawn)], Apostolos Campus Ministry, Korean Christian Students Association, Peace by Peace, Adventist Christian Fellowship, United Campus Ministries (Baptist, Buddhist, Campus Crusade, Catholic, Episcopal, Ethical Humanist, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Jewish, Lutheran, Methodist, Muslim, Presbyterian, Unitarian Universalist) After being in New York for 8 weeks the pluralism didnt surprise me at all, but it was still really sad to see. There are so many college students searching to fill the void in their life and not many looking to the only source that can fill it, Jesus Christ. This is one of the downfalls of the Postmodern generation I am a part of. So many believe there are many ways to find a complete life and to find Salvation. But Jesus said, "I AM the way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me." In the Gospel of John.

Later I went to sneak (I'm very sneaky haha) around in the student association office areas. There were a lot of students working on planning different events and things throughout the office areas. So I started some conversation with them and someone gave me a book with the real low down on Columbia. It had not been reviewed by Columbia before being published and was written completely by students. It had everything from food service, to professors; from athletics to the drug scene. The food got a D-, The academics got an A- because most of the professors could care less about their students. Athletics got an F with several students commenting “we have sports here?” The drug scene got a B with the major choice of drugs being marijuana. They got a B because apparently the campus police don’t do much to stop it at all. As long as you don’t cause a disturbance they will leave you alone.

I didn’t find anyone that was involved in any of the religious student organizations so I’m not sure how effective or present they are on campus. It sounds like they might have a good amount of watered down Christianity from the little I found out about those groups. At least with the whole United Campus Ministries thing. It seems like it would be a very interesting place to do ministry. There seems to be a lot of open-mindedness on campus and it would be relatively easy to start conversation and share your testimony with people on campus.

Afterwards I spent the rest of my time prayer-walking the campus praying for individuals as I passed them and for the incoming freshman class around the nation and then found myself praying for ACU and praying for the Lord to raise up workers for the harvest. Columbia could definitely come to know the Lord, but it needs workers, because there are very few. Pray for more workers. Pray for them to have Apostolic boldness about their faith. Pray for the spiritual battle going on throughout the campuses of America. If we don't rise up to the occasion and pray for these campuses we will have a lost generation and eventually a lost Nation. Pray.


Anonymous said...

Pray!! That's what I feel that we need to be strong in right now. With August knocking at the door, I'm going to God more fervently than ever that he guide us as we seek workers for the field. It is he who will put together a great team that he can minister through.

I'm praying that God prepares the harvest and provides the workers. I'm thankful that we'll be able to work together again this fall.


Wade Huggins said...

Awesome blog Jordan! These same thoughts have been on my mind the last month. I agree that the campus is one of the best places for ministry today, especially in these days. I am praying for Columbia right now. I hope that your summer was awesome and can't wait to hear more about it.