So in our town there is a certain university…a “Christian” university. I must be honest it vexes me to no end. To protect the less than innocent we will not use it’s real name, lets just call it Capstone University, or C.U. for short. The thing that bothers me most is it’s complete lack of regard for the local Church. One of the biggest issues is that instead of really encouraging their students to be involved in a local church (which by the way would profit them for the rest of their lives and make them more ready for life after the U) they have a chapel program that takes up so much freaking time that no one has the energy or inclination to be involved in a church. As an example one of the guys who attends our church was not able to be involved in a church small group because he had to have so many chapels at C.U. Now the fact that he was married, living on his own, working full time third shift and attending school full time made no difference he had to have so many chapels. The ironic thing is he could get credit for an “on-campus” small group, which often times involves four dudes from “Pincer” dorm sitting around singing songs and talking about the latest video game craze, but he could not get credit for attending a church small group that he had attended before C.U. and that he would attend after C.U. Apparently the C.U. message was, sell your soul to us, disconnect from your church for the next 4 years, make your whole life revolve around our “not the real world” experience and after you graduate you can be involved in the pesky church thing again.
Over the years we have had a harder time getting students from this school involved in ministry than any other school in town (including the States schools). I do not blame the students though. I genuinely feel that the school is at fault. They are teaching their students not to value the church and for those not getting that message they are making their time so busy that they have no time for the church. At this point I would rather my own children went to a State school, at least there we know what we are getting. If they went to a state school they may not have a Chapel program but they would have time for church. They also would learn to be missional adults because every one would not be already saved (or pretending to be already saved).
One time I sat down with the director of their chapel program to discuss this problem. We will call him Chizuck Schwanson to protect his identity. Anyhoo, I sat with buck and discussed this with him. He did not see it as a problem. At one point Chizuck did concede that “Church is not really on the radar of the students.” Wow, not on the radar. What this means is all these kids who grew up immersed in the evangelical sub-culture got to school, and stopped going. If it is not on their radar it is not because they did not grow up in church it is because the got to school and quit going. Someone must be held accountable for that. Either the school or the students. If it is the school then they must repent and find a way to change it, and if it is the students, then the school, as a Christian University must love Christ’s bride so much that they still do whatever they can to remedy the problem. As it is I think they are the problem. Buck also told me that they “should do a seminar or something” for the seniors about the value of the church. Loosely translated that means he is fine with the students not attending church for the next for years of their lives and they will take care of the problem latter. Great let me know how that works out. The biggest problem I think is that Chizuck has no serious ecclesiology and has confused the college with the church. Which is interesting because when I was attending there I often heard the president Lex Dogers say “We are a Christan College, with a capital “C” on both words, but we are not a Church.” So I will bet, and I am willing to take the gamble here that Lex, at least mentally is not down with what is going on. Oh well what are you going to do?
I close with the words of David Heslegrave, missiologist: “Any para-church that does not have as it’s primary goal the building up of the local church is not only para-church it is para-mission”…I think that might apply to a University as well. So Chizuck look out your office window at the giant church across the street and say to yourself “Church,” now going into the hall and look around say “School” repeat this procedure till you get it, no matter how long it takes, your students deserve it, and so does God.