Posted by: naccm | July 14, 2010

Local Church as Missional Network

It happens in campus ministry with some regularity.

Student comes to college with little or know connection to faith, or an evangelical faith, new life in Christ takes root in their life and they want to become part of sharing the good news they’ve found with other students by doing campus ministry or through mission organizations around the world.

They look for job openings and realize that few paid campus ministry positions are open and almost all of them (as well as any mission opportunity) comes with fundraising.

They have multiple disadvantages from the start:

  • Family thinks they should get a “real” job.
  • Family doesn’t understand why they have to raise support, makes the church suspect.
  • Their friends are all college students, who have some disposable income, but not enough collectively to support a missionary full-time.
  • They have no “church back home” to go to for support.
  • And, if we have minimized the local church…they have missed an opportunity for a missional network, a sending church, an anchor for mission.

Let me quickly state what I am NOT saying:

  • I’m not saying campus ministries/students don’t have money…they do…and depending on the size of the student population they may be able to support one or two missionaries at a time, but it is limited.
  • I’m not saying that God can’t provide.  Of course He is able.  But, if they church was such an important sending community for Paul’s mission, it might also be for us today.

By being invested and connect to a local community of believers that are not living on student loans, college students who have a desire to enter into ministry and/or mission field have a network of missional relationships already established.

Imagine how many ANONYMOUS requests for funding come across a church’s desk every week.  Dozens.

Last year, I surveyed 50 of the largest independent Christian churches in the US and asked, on a list of priorities to determine whether or not the church would support a particular mission, what are the 5 most important factors.

Number one, by a long shot?  We know and trust the person asking for support.

By minimizing our connection to the local church, we minimize the value of the local church as part of our ongoing missional network for sending students.



  1. Good post. This is just one excellent reason for developing healthy relationships among local churches and campus ministries. May I suggest another? It is not spiritually healthy for campus ministries to isolate themselves from local churches. We deceive ourselves if we think we can do campus ministry without support and fellowship with local churches.

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