Posted by: naccm | June 30, 2010

Neverland U

Part II in a series on Campus Ministry & the Local Church.

Neverland.  The home of the Lost Boys.  A place where kids never have to grow up.  Although not a perfect analogy of university life, can have a parallel to the lack of influence from adults.


I was having coffee this past Monday with one a student who just finished his MA in Philosophy from Boston College.

We were talking about some next steps in his life, where God is taking him, and how we develop our faith in different phases of life, and especially pressing for him at the moment…a new relationship.  He said something that stuck with me.

“It is messed up that we go off to college to learn to become adults, in a place where there are none.”

Reminded me of something I read from Donna Freitas in Sex & the Soul:

“People wonder why even the best colleges in the country harbor Animal House like behavior, but the reason is simple.  There is a thick wall between the classroom and everything else.  Brilliant students may hone sophisticated reasoning abilities in their courses, but they don’t seem inclined to take those abilities with them once class ends.  They either don’t know how or haven’t been offered the tools to apply what they learn to their personal life.” (emphasis mine)

I’m not suggesting that the homogeneity of university life is a campus ministry problem.  I am suggesting that campus ministries are uniquely can be uniquely connected to the community church in such a way as to interrupt Neveraland.


We invited dear friends of our, a couple in their 80’s, to come talk to a group of kids in foster care that my wife and I were leading through independent living skills.  The lesson that week was about relationships.

Virgil and Angela walked in to the room holding hands with a twinkle in their eye…announcing they had been married for 60 years!  It was beautiful, to watch this couple share…especially with kids who had known mostly inconsistency and distrust in relationships.  This seemed like a natural teaching and mentoring moment.

My regret? I never had them come speak to our campus ministry students.  I didn’t make the leap that this would have also been good for them.

It would have been a great interruption of Neveraland.


Let me be clear.  I’m not suggesting that their is something unimportant, or fabricated about the circumstances of students at university.  IT IS THEIR REAL WORLD.

But, it likely will not always be.  And, as a community of people seeking to follow in the way of Jesus we have unique relationships with the churches in our community, resources of people with life experience…who have walked in the corporate world with their faith…couples who have fought to make their marriage beautiful in spite of the assumptions given through our culture that it is not worth the effort.  We have farmers who have worked the soil, sewn seeds, and celebrated the harvest and suffered the devastating loss of not seeing a harvest.  We know families who have remained faithful in spite of tragedy, and elderly who have wisdom that only comes through years of living and making mistakes.


As campus ministries we are uniquely situated to bring interruptions Neveraland.  To be reminded that where you are now is the real world, and where you will be is also the real world.  Campus ministry is uniquely positioned to prepare students for both.  The local church might be our most under-utilized people resource for breaking down that wall of separation.



  1. […] post, I posited that the generational diversity of a local church is a tutor to selflessness.  And last week that the church at its best provides a mentoring into mature men and women. DUKEMagazine Volume 88, […]

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