Posted by: naccm | September 22, 2010

What is a Campus Minister? by Tim Hawkins

What is a Campus Minister?

The question has come up in various contexts for me in the past few years.

Especially in the early stages of launching a campus ministry, whether 40 years ago or today, the campus minister can find difficulty narrowing his/her responsibilities.

Here are a few of the roles that a campus minister seems to play:

1.     Disciple-maker

2.     Teacher

3.     Counselor

4.     Fundraiser

5.     Host

6.     Visioneer

7.     Leadership Developer

8.     Human Resource Manager

9.     Business Manager

10. Public Relations Manager

11. University Liaison

12. Evangelist

13. Encourager

14. Creative Designer

15. Shepherd

16. Friend

17. Pioneer

18. Housekeeper

19. Intercessor

You might be able to think of others.

Someone told me in the past year, “No one really wants my job, they only want parts of my job.”  Probably true.  I’m not sure anyone should want all of those jobs when the expectation is that we do all of them well.

Larger organizations pool some of these roles into specialized administrative structures, leaving the campus staff to focus on pastoral work.  But, for those of us working in independent Christian church campus ministries, we do not have that luxury of itemizing the roles we keep and those we outsource.

Not a year goes by, I don’t look at any number of those areas and think, “Man, I wish I were as good as _______________ at ___________________.”

So, what is important at the end of the day, what IS a campus minister?  Where do we put our focus and attention?

In recent months, I continue to come back to a more simplified answer to the question.

A campus minister is simply a disciple of Jesus living a compelling life of Jesus in proximity of the college or university.

As much as I would like to teach as fluid as Rob Bell (insert your “longing to be as good as” here), most importantly today I’m called to be a disciple of Jesus.  I forget that sometimes when I see all of the roles I’m not very good at as a campus minister.



  1. Good stuff Tim! Thank you for your honesty.

    I’d also like to add that if we spend our time comparing (striving) ourselves to others, that quickly becomes what we strive for (read: idol).

    Rather than focusing on the Mission (capitol M) we set our sites on a person trying our best to emulate their mission (lowercase m).

  2. A campus minister is person who is willing to uproot his family and move across the country to establish a brand new type of student ministry. Tim Hawkins is a campus minister.
    You are my hero!

  3. This brings up a huge pet peeve of mine.

    I am a COLLEGE pastor. I am NOT a youth pastor.

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