Monday, June 13, 2016

Do All Your Students Look and Think Alike?

I am on record many times in saying we should reach a wide variety of students. I've written about having pretty people in your ministry, but not being just a ministry for pretty people. In all of the political talk of the season and the discussions of the most recent gun violence, I continue to be struck by our lack of constructive conversations by people who disagree....and even more....the lack of common respect for one another.

I suffer from the terminal belief that Christian College Ministry is the cure for ALL the World's ills.

So, does your ministry have a wide variety of people connected to it? Do they represent some different understandings? Some years ago in working with our Freshmen Leadership Team, there started a negative discussion from some toward the political party one of the girls whose uncle was a prominent legislator in our state. I made a clear Point that we could disagree, but we would not do put-downs of each other related to political differences. Both groups heard me and stayed connected to our ministry.

Many years ago a girl in our ministry, who later that year became Miss Arkansas, was being put down by her roommate for not sharing identical views about one aspect of Christian doctrine. My student was made to feel she was a loser. I would say you likely are not "a loser" if you win the Miss Congeniality award in the Miss America Pageant.

Differences matter. But, respect matters too.

Someone said, "I'm too old to just listen to and read people I agree with all the time.". Are you working at creating a culture that students that come to your ministry are not all just alike? We all tend to attract folks similar to ourselves and best relate to those similar to ourselves. So, reaching and connecting with others has to be intentional. That is the struggle we see in the New Testament where Paul is advancing the idea that the Gospel is not just for the Jews.

Our ministries must reach a variety of students and we must teach them to deal with each other with respect. Then, who knows, some of them may become political leaders who will not only share Christ with others....but...they will treat even those with whom they disagree with crazy!

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

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