CAMPUS MINISTRY

You can have a campus ministry without a registered student organization. The organization is there in order for the students to use the facilities of the university.  Described below are some basic components of starting a registered student organization. They include leadership, members, filing paperwork with the university, and finding a faculty advisor.

LEADERSHIP

Though the basic requirements for a university usually include a president, vice president, and treasurer; we must remember there are spiritual needs of the group which the university does not take into consideration. Therefore choose people who love Jesus and who are teachable. When beginning a group a common temptation is to just put a name there to meet the universities requirements. Resist this temptation as much as possible. Pray, asking God to move the hearts of the Adventists on campus to accept the call the serve in leadership. Any leader that accepts an officer’s position should see it as a calling. This principle should set the precedents in how future leaders are chosen.  After you have prayed, approach the people individually, sharing the need and purpose of the group. Articulate clearly the position and role they need to fill. Then ask them for a commitment. Below are suggested descriptions for the officer’s responsibilities.

MEMBERS

Each university will have a minimum requirement for membership. One of the best ways to find Adventist is to pray. [not sure if this is appropriate here]

When students were first starting a campus ministry at Eastern Michigan University, they decided to flier campus inviting people to a weekly Bible study. There were only two known Adventist on campus at that time; therefore they were praying that God would lead them to find others. The day they went to flier, they prayed specifically that God would lead them to at least one Adventist. It was nearing the lunch hour, so they decided to flier in one of the main places where students eat. As they walked through one of the students standing tapped on the Adventist shoulder asking their name. The eastern student was an Adventist.

God has a way of sending students to your campus. Pray specifically for students who are laborers (LK 10:3). In addition to prayer you can act upon your prayer.  Universities often have a list of students to identify themselves with a certain religious preference. Under this situation the students would have filled out a questionnaire at orientation. Your local pastor can request this information by giving the university a letter printed on the Adventist letterhead. The letter should state the pastor is a recognized representative of the Adventist Church and request for a list of parishioners, i.e. students who identify themselves as Adventist.  

Another way to find Adventist is to let people know that you are Adventist in a Christ-like way. Students have sat next to fellow Adventist in their classes and not known until one Sabbath they happen to attend the same church. Depending on how your campus receives information, fliers with the name Adventist written on it with your contact information.

In addition to these things, you can visit the local churches in your area. If there are many churches in your area, work with the local churches to plan a special campus ministry focused Sabbath. The purpose would be to galvanize the students and place before them the need for missionaries to reach out to their own campuses. Then call for commitment. As with the leaders, make sure you communicate clearly what they are committing too.

Another really easy way to find Adventist is facebook.  Search for Adventist who attend your university.

UNIVERSITY PAPERWORK

Registering as a student organization is one of the easier steps in campus ministry. On every campus there will be an office that is responsible for all the student organizations on your campus.  The name of the office e will be similar to Dean of Student Affairs or Office of Student Activities.  If you are not able to find the office ask questions.  Asking questions is a really good way to make friends and open the door for divine appointments.  

Once at the office, request for information for starting a student organization.  Some universities may call it a RSO, i.e. registered student organization. The basic requirements for every university is a faculty or staff advisor, minimum number of students (ranging from 2 to 20), and a constitution.  CAMPUS has provided a general constitution. 

Choosing a name for your organization is important. Understanding your purpose will help to choose a name. Some questions to ask are “What will this name tell the campus about God?” “What will this name tell the campus about who we are?” One principle to remember is God has given the name Adventist to us for a reason. The name is to call people to know about His soon coming. Therefore, do not be afraid of identifying yourself as an Adventist, whether in name or in practice.

FACULTY ADVISOR

Finding a faculty or staff advisor will require lots of prayer.  Sometimes there is already an Adventist who is a professor or staff. Even in this case prayerfully consider and seek for God’s leading. Your first choice should be an Adventist, but know that sometimes they Identify professors or staff that you already know.  Often your faithful conduct in classes will grant you favor from the professor. Pray and ask God whom He would have to be the adviser. Then approach them sharing with them what you need. This conversation will be very different then if you were talking to an Adventist. Pray for wisdom and tact. God will help you and touch the person heart. It may take a few try’s before you find the adviser.

The role of the faculty adviser should be just that: adviser. They should be autonomous, but you should keep them informed. The faculty or staff adviser should see you more then when paperwork needs to be signed.

WORKING WITH OTHERS

The Christian groups on smaller campuses tend to be more protective and suspicious of new religious groups.  If you are a smaller campus it will be helpful to contact the other Christian group leaders. The purpose would be to let them know about your group.

Ecumenical efforts on campus are becoming more common. These efforts range from joining all Christian denominations to joining all religious entities. Often these efforts seek for Christians and or religious entities to lay aside that which divide and focus on that which unites. For this reason it is important for Adventist to understand and know how to respond to such requests to join.  

There are at least three principles that will help guide your Adventist group in knowing how to answer such requests.  We are without apology Seventh-day Adventist; therefore any request that would cause us to compromise this distinction must be declined. Prayer groups organized to pray for unity of faith on campus would fall in to this category.  

However, there are other groups and events that do not fall under this category. There are groups or events that exists or the purpose of serving the campus community and its respective spheres. Meaning they seek for representatives from each group in order to minister to that group on campus. In the case of ARC (association of Religious Counselors) at the University of Michigan they have feminist in their association so they can represent the needs of the feminist on campus.

Simply, spend time where it is needed the most. These organization can easily get you side tracked and disillusioned. Prayerfully consider your involvement. The best events are ones that we initiate and plan.

MASSAGE

Not every campus will be able to have a massage ministry. However, there are principles to be learned from setting up such a ministry. This ministry on campus would fall under the category of friendship evangelism. The purpose of the massage is to create an avenue for the University and students to know your ministry cares about the whole person.

The principle is exemplified in how the client is treated from the moment the walk in the door. They need to know they are a priority because you care. Put yourself in their shoes: what information would you need when you come in, what are their needs, how can Jesus meet their needs.  Build a friendship with them, build trust. Some students [not sure if this is the best place]

One girl came to massage faithfully every week. She was quite and never said very much. As the weeks went by she would say a little more but only on the surface.  Then one week she began to share about her family. She shared how her family did not really show affection. As she shared more I realized the reason she came to massage was to be touched by another human being.

Another girl was so touched by the ministry at Christmas time she made a card for all the missionaries with a gift. The message was so touching.

Other students would schedule their week around the massage.  They would ask why are you doing this, our answer was the same, this organization wants to provide something for the campus community. This is when we could share who we are: Seventh-day Adventist.

Though we do not know the end of these stories, they knew we were Adventist and they knew we cared. Prayerfully, every time they see the name Adventist they will remember the care given to them

The ministry is the massage. The massage communicates love and care. Each week builds a greater trust with the student. If you begin to preach the three angles message, Sabbath, or other religious heavy subjects, this communicates that the only reason I am giving you this massage is so I can preach at you.  Some outreaches on campuses need to be purely for their benefit for their good. ‘Christ mingled with men as one that desired their good.’ Let them know you care! If they ask why let them know it is because Jesus cared for you.