The very first steps to starting a ministry at a university
Thursday, June 12
Decoding is simply a Campus Crusade for Christ term for figuring out as much as possible about a place.
Yesterday I headed out to DePaul University, located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, with the mission to decode the campus.
I'm spending 6 weeks this summer in Chicago as a staff member on the Chicago Summer Project. Like many summer projects in the United States, students from around the country have come here for the summer to live together and grow in their faith.
They have weekly Bible studies and training times, are mentored by a Campus Crusade staff members like myself, and learn the importance of evangelism and how to do it as a way of life.
Students find a job in the city to make money and through this have a great place to build relationships and share about the hope they've found in Christ.
The Big Picture
Here in Chicago, our summer project is also working in partnership with the Campus Ministry team in the city. We are trusting God to use all of us -- staff members and the 35 students who have come for the summer -- to help start and build Campus Crusade ministries on a few campuses in Chicago.
This summer I'll spend three days a week working at 2 schools, Robert Morris College and DePaul University. The students participating in the project will also join the staff members for one day of ministry on their day off from work.
What We Knew and What We Didn't
When we showed up yesterday at DePaul, we had no idea what to expect. This is what we did know:
- how to get to DePaul on the brown line 'L' (the elevated train).
- that nearly 25,000 students study there.
This is what we didn't know:
- if students were still in classes
- if DePaul offers summer school
- what buildings were located on the campus
- whether or not many students lived on campus
- where students like to hang out.
I spent the day with Danyelle, a student from Virginia that I am mentoring this summer. Together we walked around the campus and explored.
We went to the Student Center and saw the Father Egan statue. We visited the SAC (Schmidt Academic Center) and found students studying for finals in the "pit," a sunken area with tables in the middle of the lobby.
We prayed and we approached students and asked them about their university. Although we were available to engage in spiritual conversations, we didn't end up discussing the gospel with anyone.
We left knowing much more about DePaul than a few hours earlier. This first step will help us as we work this summer toward establishing a growing Campus Crusade ministry on this campus.
It was a successful day.