“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” -Mathews 6:33 (NKJ)
It seems we’re living in a time of extreme disengagement. Our culture is commitment phobic. We’re a nation of consumers – but more troubling, in many ways we’re a church of consumers. I preached a message recently at Thursday Night Live in which I detailed what I see as the four approaches students tend to adopt.
Which of the following best describes you?…
The compromiser is someone who isn’t committed to living a particular lifestyle. They may believe they should live a certain way, but they can’t seem to bring themselves to do it. At the present time, this represents the vast majority of the University population. When one of these students comes to an event we’re grateful, because a huge part of our mission is to serve these students and help them find hope.
The consumers are the next largest group. These are mostly students who come from a Christian background. They choose a fellowship because the like the style of the music, or maybe even the style of the preaching. We are happy to have these students whenever they visit us. Unfortunately, they aren’t in a place where they are able to contribute. They show up for worship services sometimes, and occasionally even a Bible study, but the lack commitment to a mission.
A small group of students, perhaps as much as twenty percent at a given service, are contributors. These young men and women see beyond themselves. Many of them serve occasionally in ministry roles. If you ask them to contribute to a particular ministry, and if it fits their schedules, they will likely do it.
Although it would be impossible to be effective in ministry without this group, there is a problem. Basically, these students are there when they are there. During times of stress or busyness (e.g. midterms) these guys fade away. It’s impossible to consistently reach the campus with this group alone – because they lack consistency themselves.
Another thing worth noting; even these terrific students struggle intensely with problems that they can’t seem to overcome. They are above the waves one week and below them the next. We are thrilled to have these students, and they are a blessing to others, but they aren’t committed to the group. They don’t belong to a fellowship, they attend a fellowship.
Although their numbers are small, these students account for the vast majority of the work that gets done in a campus ministry. They serve weekly in campus outreaches, contribute in planning meetings, and lead in worship team or a Bible study cell group. These students are world-changers. They get it. They invest in campus ministry, and it’s our responsibility as staff to invest heavily in them. They are committed to the fellowship; this is the handful of students who really “do life together”. If you are going to be successful as a believer on the University, you must commit to a lifestyle, a mission, and a community of believers. If any of these elements are missing, conquering your circumstances isn’t likely.
Knowing this how should we respond? As a group, Chi Alpha needs to embrace and encourage students of every commitment level. We want to show love to the compromisers, patience for the consumers, edification for the contributors, and tons of support for the Conquerors. We don’t condemn anyone for any lack of commitment. But we’re also called to love students enough to help them change. Commitment is good for you, and when you’re committed to the right things – everything else works out too.
Do you see yourself in any of the above types? It’s possible you are a mix of them, or in between two categories. David once prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23&24)
Take a minute to prayerfully consider, “Is there a commitment that I need to make?” Also, if you like, you can take our free 32-question QUIZ to help you measure your current involvement/commitment level.
OSU Chi Alpha Campus Pastor