Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Come Back of the Goose that laid the Golden Egg – Campus evangelism

It’s that time of the year – taking stock. By now the holidays are over. Students over the world as in South Africa will soon return to their respected centres of education. And new students all over the country will flock to varsities.

In South Africa there are approximately 740,000 students and the government want to expand its university system and attract an extra 100,000 students. This goal is to achieve a 20% participation rate by 2015.

No wonder, Douglas Arthur, once responded in his section of the multi-authored Shining Like Stars: Campus ministry is “the goose that laid the golden egg”. For him it is a sort of precious bird, which should not be neglected, and for good reason.

The Campus Ministry days of Charles “Chuck” Lucas’ Crossroads movement has given rise to the McKean’s Boston movement (1979), which later was termed the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) (1994).

The ICOC since August 2005 have divided into two alternating camps due to unresolved leadership issues. The pro-McKean camp who call themselves the Sold-Out Discipling movement are those who support the McKean’s leadership style while the anti-McKean camp who call themselves the ICOC Co-operation Churches rejects latter’s leadership. However, both rely heavily on the campus ministry model because it is still viewed as the most fruitful of harvest fields.

Worldwide the post-2003 ICOC campus ministries had virtually came to a stand still. Douglas precious bird were neglected and at some places abandoned.

The pendulum shifts within the ICOC churches are not over. People within the ICOC are still indecisive concerning ICOC teachings and methodologies. Some ICOC churches near campuses seek alternative structures. The house church concept with small cell groups has become the preferred choice by some ICOC members in South Africa. These people no longer want to emphasise ICOC doctrine or methodology uphold by either pro- or anti- McKean group. Campus evangelism does not feature, as an entity on its own – home churches goal is to create a family vibe where all are considered part of the system.

In contrast, the golden eggs (students) associated with the goose (campus ministry) during the pre-2003 ICOC era, were jealously guarded by the most talented people to work solely with the college ministry. This notion may still be prevalent in some ICOC churches who rely on this old model. Here, ICOC evangelists invest all their energies in making this type of academic ministry a success. Harvest time start as soon as campuses open their doors for registration. A three-stage ministry immediately kicks in throughout the academic year with a strong focus on lots of visitors, lots of studies and lots of new Christians throughout the year.

Worldwide ICOC congregations with a life of an academic ministry fluctuate annually. It’s not entirely the graduation ceremonies fault. Each year that goes by, after the holiday break; church leadership anxiously awaits students to return home. Some students return with broken wings, which get fix during inspirational meetings offered by church activities while some decline to go back to the nest, yet they are on campus.

I for one cannot imagine this new era of ICOC campus evangelism.

In years to come, would the DJ’s style of ministry co-work with the Renton’s?

Nowadays, at some varsity institutions one might encounter a pro- or anti- McKean campus ministry – a sort of two types of jealous geese guarding eggs!

Perhaps, students of both camps who no longer feel so strong about their differences might start a new movement – where they can reaffirm those truths and emphases that have particularly shaped our branch of God’s movement, from the campus ministry days until now?

So the breeding cycle continues – the Precious Bird(s) that laid the Golden Egg is back. What will the future bring for these new golden eggs? Well, from personal experience – an endless cycle of persecution. No doubt.

Next articles: New 2007 South African stats as revealed by Mission Memo and Your Faith is sufficient.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

YouTube' mission statement

A mission statement video submitted by the Southern Africa International Churches of Christ also features Rod Fick the late evangelist of the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ.

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