Campus Spiritual Leadership
- What is CSL?
So you're attending college or doing ministry right next door to a non-Adventist college and wonder about how to connect with students on that campus or how your church might have an effective witness there. The Adventist church has not had a lot of experience with ministry on public college campuses since we have traditionally focused most of our attention in secondary education on our own Adventist schools. But, statistics demonstrate that more and more of our own Adventist young adults are now attending non-Adventist colleges and universities. This, along with the enormous opportunity and responsibility we have in sharing the gospel on today’s university campus compels us to engage this un-entered territory of the the Adventist mission. But we need to know how to do that. We need to explore the methods that work in reaching this unique demographic of today’s college campus.
Fortunately, we have a wonderful curriculum already in place to help give direction and training for this very unique campus ministry mission in the Campus Spiritual Leadership Graduate Certificate Program offered through the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. The Campus Spiritual Leadership (CSL) program was created specifically to give specialized training for those already engaged in ministry to the public campus and for those who would like to develop a new outreach to their campus. This summer Andrews is offering the practical ministry portion of the CSL track.
- Context of the Need
Based on his 10-year longitudinal study of 783 Seventh-day Adventist teenagers (1,523 in the original sample), Roger Dudley concluded that "it seems reasonable to believe that at least 40 percent to 50 percent of Seventh-day Adventist teenagers in North America are essentially leaving the church by their middle 20s." In the development of faith, the critical years are
the college years when young adults gain their first real independence and must move through a period of searching that leads from a "given faith" to an "owned faith." During these years of searching and decisions, these students need to be given "a dream and a community." If mature Christian adults are not available and prepared to provide these, our young adults will find their dream and community outside of the Christian faith.
Of SDA young adults in college, about 50 percent attend Adventist colleges/universities, and about 50 percent attend public colleges/universities. We need trained college personnel who have the skill to oversee the spiritual formation of college students on Adventist campuses, and we need trained pastors and lay leaders to minister to Adventist students on public campuses and to reach non-Christian college students through our Adventist students. Our college students are the next generation of Adventist academic and professional leaders-the next generation of Christians to be salt and light in the world.
Currently, the denomination has no training program for those who minister to college students on Adventist campuses or public campuses. (Very few campus ministry training programs exist at any seminary of any denomination.) Billy Graham has said that "universities might well be among the most fruitful fields for evangelism." Many Adventist leaders see the need for campus ministry and have written and passed resolutions to deal with this need. However, most of the plans and ideas remain on paper. Strengthening our work on Adventist and public campuses is an idea whose time has come. If Andrews University can take a leadership role in this important initiative, other denominational entities may also contribute their expertise to the ministry of young adult Christians.
- The Vision
The Religious Education programs of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary would like to make Andrews University a world center for training leaders in campus ministry. In the North American Division, we would have an academic/professional program designed to prepare two groups of campus spiritual leaders: (1) Adventist college and academy pastors, chaplains, student development personnel, and Bible/religion/theology teachers? to take a leadership role in designing spiritual masterplans for their campuses, to disciple our own Adventist young people, to prepare them to face the intellectual and social challenges of the world they will live in, and to teach them how to view their profession or life career as a true vocation?a calling to glorify God; (2) pastors, youth ministers, and lay leaders who live in urban centers to mentor and support (as described above) Adventist students attending nearby universities and through them to evangelize non-Christians on university campuses. In the ?world field? we would hold training workshops using video tapes of the NAD program and contextualize it by having indigenous campus leaders participate by giving presentations and by leading discussions.
- Competencies to be Learned