Campus Ministries Race to Keep Up with Record Number of International Students

There are 17 Comments

Larry Nelson's picture

 

This article is over a year old, so I'm sure the current numbers/rankings have shifted somewhat: 

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/news/25-us-universities-most-international-students

My own University of Minnesota is #17 on this list, with 6,984 international students (15% of the student body).

 

As of Fall, 2016, the University of Minnesota has 2,693 students from China alone, with another 725 from South Korea:

http://www.oir.umn.edu/student/enrollment_map/report 

Larry Nelson's picture

 

How a Small Baptist Church Grew One of America’s Largest Student Ministries

Excerpt: "The nation’s largest church-based student movement was started 44 years ago by a small Baptist church in Iowa.

About 13 years in, 30 to 50 students from nearby Iowa State University met regularly as the Baptist Student Union. Ten years later, close to 200 students attended regularly, and Grand Avenue Baptist Church realized its campus ministry had grown so large “it became the tail wagging the dog” and threatened to overwhelm the congregation.

In response, the congregation planted a new church to run its campus ministry, and both took off. Today, more than 22 years later, the Salt Company reaches around 1,400 students every week at Iowa State University, while Cornerstone Church sees about 2,400 people on Sundays.

The twin ministries—to community and campus—have since reproduced themselves at the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa; they’ve grown, too, seeing about 450 students a week. This fall Salt spread to the University of Missouri and Drake University, where roughly 100 students gather each week. The University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin are slated for 2017."

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-a-small-baptist-church-grew-one-of-americas-largest-student-ministries

-----------------------------------------

Although this isn't strictly a ministry to international students, it shows that campus ministry can be accomplished effectively on a local church level.

Joeb's picture

To my knowledge their are no IFB Churches in Urban areas of the Northeast where many of the top colleges in the country are located in the belt running from Washington DC to Boston.  It seems most of the IFB Churches gravitate toward the Midwest and South and in the rural areas.  

Question are they that much seperatest that their afraid to engage the sinful liberals and students who go to some of the top universities.  Do they fear people with high intellect ie like Bert.  Do they fear these people could lead them astray or that it is just a wasted breath so why bother.  I don't know what the answer is.

 The intercity church that I attended in college had a big ministry to Drexel and the University of Penn. Also all the Medical Schools in Philly and Curtis School of Music. At the same time they reached out to the gay community and to the street people in Philadelphia including male and female prostitutes.

In all my time in Philly never heard of one Bob Jones Church or GARB church in Philly.  They stuck to the suburbs and county areas in Pa sadly.  There was one GARB church in Northeast Philly called Burlhome Baptist.  That is the only one I knew of at the time although there is a mixed race GARB church up by Temple University but I don't know if that was there when I was in College.  

Bert Perry's picture

....is that (thanks, Joe, by the way) the reason most fundamental churches don't do a lot of campus ministry is not about intellect, really, at least not directly.  Rather, there are other reasons we don't do well, including being afraid that those communities will corrupt us, and the simple fact that many of our cultural habits turn off elite students.  This includes the notion of pastor as benevolent dictator (elite students don't do "dues paying" well), the extensive use of genetic fallacies in a lot of our arguments, and a lot of our hot button social issues.  Some things that are not our fault that make it difficult include the general mood of campuses--strong bias for liberal politics, epicurean tastes (e.g. expensive coffee and craft beer) and libertine ethics, especially sexually.  

(and  to be sure; the political left gets away with a lot of things that a fundamental pastor can not in this setting....we need to just get over it)

Intellect might help us to learn our logic and evaluate whether "theological issue A" is really a Biblical imperative, but really....these tools work as well at 5mph with an IQ of 80 as they do at 500mph with an IQ of 150, so to speak.   So get out there, find and bring good data, smile, don't insult people, and it can be amazing where it'll go.  You will be insulted, people will look down their nose at you, and some others...are going to see the love of Christ in you.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Rob Fall's picture

But on the West Coast, the lack of IFB inner city churches is due to factors such as:

  • The residual effects of the Modernist\Fundamentalist split in the 1930s-1940s. The downtown churches tended to be in the Liberal\Modernist camp. Hamilton Square Baptist Church of San Francisco being an exception.
  • Churches in the '50s following their membership to the suburbs (white flight).
  • The price of real estate (both owner-occupied and rental) since the 60s mitigates against inner city church plants.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Steve Davis's picture

Joeb wrote:

To my knowledge their are no IFB Churches in Urban areas of the Northeast where many of the top colleges in the country are located in the belt running from Washington DC to Boston.  It seems most of the IFB Churches gravitate toward the Midwest and South and in the rural areas.  

Question are they that much seperatest that their afraid to engage the sinful liberals and students who go to some of the top universities.  Do they fear people with high intellect ie like Bert.  Do they fear these people could lead them astray or that it is just a wasted breath so why bother.  I don't know what the answer is.

 The intercity church that I attended in college had a big ministry to Drexel and the University of Penn. Also all the Medical Schools in Philly and Curtis School of Music. At the same time they reached out to the gay community and to the street people in Philadelphia including male and female prostitutes.

In all my time in Philly never heard of one Bob Jones Church or GARB church in Philly.  They stuck to the suburbs and county areas in Pa sadly.  There was one GARB church in Northeast Philly called Burlhome Baptist.  That is the only one I knew of at the time although there is a mixed race GARB church up by Temple University but I don't know if that was there when I was in College.  

We're in Philly. I don't know how many IFB churches there are but there are church plants throughout the city. Our church is in North Philly, the IFB church I planted in 1982 is still in Northwest Philly (but no longer IFB).  One of our former elders is planting a church in South Philly, Sovereign Grace has several church plants in the city as does CMA.  We have two elders working through CCO with students at U of PA and Drexel, Epiphany Fellowship has ministry to Temple. It's being done, yet there is room. 

Joeb's picture

I'm talking about a Traditional IFB church.  Hymms only. Seperatists and skirt measuring and the usual rules.  These type of IFB Churches are not in the inner city or reaching out to the higher learning institutions.  Steve your talking about  Convergant churches which I consider good.  The traditional IFB Churches considers these churches apostate.  

Larry Nelson's picture

Joeb wrote:

I'm talking about a Traditional IFB church.  Hymms only. Seperatists and skirt measuring and the usual rules.  These type of IFB Churches are not in the inner city or reaching out to the higher learning institutions.  Steve your talking about  Convergant churches which I consider good.  The traditional IFB Churches considers these churches apostate.  

Locally, it isn't fundamentalism that is striving to reach to reach the University of Minnesota. 

--------------------------------------------

An example:

In proximity to the campus, the EFCA has planted not one, but two thriving churches which are strongly focused on reaching students.

This is one of the two:

https://hopecc.com/

I attended this church one Sunday morning last summer, and seeing the number of attendees in their late teens & twenties made me want to jump up & down and pump my fists in the air!  (In other words, it was exciting to see!)  Smile

Lest anyone think there are only students in attendance though, I saw (and talked to) people of all ages, including senior citizens.  One couple in their thirties who I talked to told me they'd both been saved at the church while students at the U of M, been married at the church, and now a decade later they were there with their two young children. 

The church has two buildings, about 50 feet apart, on the same block (They have plans to eventually connect the two).  Both buildings date to the late 19th century.  Here are some photos of one of the buildings: 

http://www.station19.com/portfolio/interiors/hope-community-church#

Currently, their typical weekend attendance is about 1,200, at 3 services (using both buildings concurrently at one service time). 

I happened to see some financial figures posted.  One might think that a church that skews young in attendance might have a relative paucity of giving, but that didn't appear to be the case. Their weekly budget was > $41,000 (that's over $2.1M annually), and their year-to-date actual giving (for the 1st half of 2016) was over budget.  (For sake of comparison, Plymouth, MN's Fourth Baptist, known to many on SI, has a current weekly budget of $23,674; or about $1,231,048 annually.)

--------------------------------------------

This church is not fundamentalist, but they are making an impact on the University of Minnesota---a mission field that fundamentalism largely ignores.

JBL's picture

Could you us a brief sentence or two on why you think Hope Community Church is not Fundamentalist?

John B. Lee

Larry Nelson's picture

JBL wrote:

Could you us a brief sentence or two on why you think Hope Community Church is not Fundamentalist?

Sure, but a full explanation wouldn't be brief!  Smile

Briefly,

Being EFCA, they believe in the Fundamentals (that is, the indisputable core doctrines essential to Biblical Christianity & saving faith).

But being EFCA, they would break with fundamentalism in the areas of 1) the boundaries of (secondary) separation; in certain areas of 2) doctrine (e.g. generally not taking a position on pre-trib vs. post-trib, the age of the Earth, etc.); and in areas (when/where applicable) of 3) "cultural fundamentalism" (e.g. styles of music, dress-codes, insistence on total abstinence from alcohol, etc.). 

Steve Davis's picture

Joeb wrote:

I'm talking about a Traditional IFB church.  Hymms only. Seperatists and skirt measuring and the usual rules.  These type of IFB Churches are not in the inner city or reaching out to the higher learning institutions.  Steve your talking about  Convergant churches which I consider good.  The traditional IFB Churches considers these churches apostate.  

If you put it that way probably not too many. There are a couple churches that would fit that description which have been planted in some of the rougher, drug-heavy neighborhoods like Kensington and Frankford. I'm glad they are there and trying to have an impact. They have their niche. However, many of these neighborhoods are beginning to experience gentrification at the edges. As a younger, hipper crowd moves in there may be more church planting but IFB churches usually will not reach them. 

 

Steve Davis's picture

Rob Fall wrote:

But on the West Coast, the lack of IFB inner city churches is due to factors such as:

  • The residual effects of the Modernist\Fundamentalist split in the 1930s-1940s. The downtown churches tended to be in the Liberal\Modernist camp. Hamilton Square Baptist Church of San Francisco being an exception.
  • Churches in the '50s following their membership to the suburbs (white flight).
  • The price of real estate (both owner-occupied and rental) since the 60s mitigates against inner city church plants.

Many of these factors apply to cities in the Northeast. Apart from 10th Presbyterian I don't know that there are many gospel-preaching churches downtown. They are largely a drive-in church with people coming from all over - suburbs and New Jersey. There is nothing affordable to buy or rent for a church plant without deep pockets. 10th Pres. has planted some other churches downtown (or center city as we call it). I know of a PCA church plant that had been around for years that bought a downtown historic church facility (liberal Baptist) they had been renting for maybe a million dollars or so. I'm not sure where they got the money. When it comes to real estate it's location, location, location. We have a 100 year old building in North Philly that we inherited but no parking and in need of work (any work groups out there?). I'm not sure what it's worth but the same building would be worth far, far more in center city or a gentrified neighborhood. Our area is not gentrified and might never be since it is does not border on center city. It's somewhat economically deprived with majority Hispanic and a mix of African and Asian immigrants with a sprinkling of African Americans and Caucasians. It will remain mostly a neighborhood church since people from nicer neighborhoods or suburbs might not feel safe in the area. 

JBL's picture

at your description.

Probably the most concise and simplest delineation of fundamentalist and evangelical churches out there!

Thanks for the reply.

John B. Lee

Bert Perry's picture

As much as I've enjoyed and appreciated the give & take, especially between John & Larry, we also ought to note that there is tremendous opportunity to reach out to immigrants wherever you are.  For example, I can hardly go to the health club without interacting with immigrants....I've taught Somali kids how to swim, shared a lane with a gentleman from Iran....all kids of closed countries can be reached through their nationals who have come here. 

But back to that give & take, we do sometimes need to get out of our "key culture", which is part of what Joe was getting at, and is definitely part of what Larry is getting at.  Learn about the food, learn about the architecture, and you will make connections.  Guaranteed.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

There are a lot of great comments on this thread.  Keep it up, guys!

Just as an aside, I believe that the current plan to revive NIU / NBBC revolves around attracting a significant portion (maybe all) International students and acting as a kind of launchpad back into those countries.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells