I confess that this is a title that may get me in trouble....first, let me explain....then I may be in trouble. For many years it is my belief that College Ministers were seen as more teachers than preachers. These days when I see a picture of a College Minister, it is likely one speaking up in front of a big crowd. I've got a couple of good ones of me like that.
So, what's the issue? In my several years of leading a campus based ministry, I saw us as a partner with local churches. I saw our ministry sharing the Gospel, but speaking more to the every day issues with which students were faced than the chuches did and could. We did lots on relationships, personal discipline, how to know what to do with your life, etc. Obviously, all of that was done from a biblical context. Yes and I did try to explain the book of Revelation some.
I have two concerns. First, I believe College Ministers must never lose our role as being one who works with students individually. The more we see ourselves as preachers, the more we isolate ourselves to prepare and study. A couple of years back I wrote a blog about how I didn't like "Green Rooms" where speakers waited prior to speaking to students. When I speak, I would rather have sat with students leading up to my speaking and have talked with and hugged many of them prior to the start. I believe in walking across the campus every day and talking with students individually...not being one they only recognize on the stage with a spotlight on me.
My second concern is that we are doing only "salvation talks or sermons". Yes; there are tons of students who need to hear and respond to the Gospel. But, we cannot forget the 7 out of 10 who walked with the Lord in high school and are walking away from faith in college life. Many think they have already done all that.....is that all you have to say? What about the ethical and moral issues of our day? Who helps students answer the tough questions they are getting in class and all across campus?
I hope you get to speak to huge crowds and proclaim the Gospel, but that you will not forsake your role as a teacher of every day life. And, you will continue to be one a student can talk to when their girlfriend/boyfriend just dumped them....with a text message.
Some years ago after I spoke at a Sunday worship service in an area church, a man told me he had enjoyed my "little talk". What I think he meant was, I didn't sound much like a preacher. That was ok with me....lots of my students had quit listening to preachers a long time ago.