Posted by: Justin Wallace | January 21, 2011

Why Campus Ministry? :: Ian Clark

I know a family who, for as long as I can remember, has always been very involved in the church at which I am an elder. The husband and wife have been in small groups, Bible studies, and regularly volunteer for all kinds of church related events. The children of this family attended youth group when they were younger, went to summer camp, and even participated in mission trips during their High School years. Church, God, and Jesus has always been a consistent and central element in this family’s lives.

One day, the oldest daughter of this family left for college.  Over the next few years, she was introduced to many unfamiliar ideas and new concepts that influenced her understanding not only science and history, but of the arts and philosophy. She learned that college wasn’t only about academics. This family’s daughter had encounters with people from all kinds of different backgrounds.  New worlds where discovered offering endless possibilities of exploration. She was exposed to all of the beautiful, wonderful and fascinating experiences that make the college years so memorable, so rewarding, and so valuable.

Some of these experiences would challenge her understanding of God and the Bible, which – I can argue elsewhere – is often necessary to developing an authentic life of faith. But what she didn’t experience during these precious college years was a community who could provide her support during this new season of doubt. There was no place where the tough questions about God and the Bible were welcomed and discussed. There was no college ministry reaching out to her (or the rest of her campus) to teach that being a follower of Christ doesn’t mean you have all the answers.

Consequently, when this this mid-west church going family’s daughter returned home from college, she did not return to the church. The parent’s hearts were broken.

Now, this is not an actual story about a particular family at my church, but it’s the story of many families within the larger church body. Many of today’s emerging adults end up leaving the church during their college years, and most will never return.

This is our answer to the question, “Why Campus Ministry?” We believe the future of the church is dependent upon the how successful college ministries are at making disciples. This is why the Newchapter mission is to help build strong college ministries.

*Today’s post, by Ian Clark, is part of a blog series titled “Why Campus Ministry?“. Why do we give our lives to this profession, this people group, this thing called Campus Ministry? Why do we do what we do? What drives us? What keeps us going? Why college students? Why the University campus? Here’s the catch…each post must be 200 words or less. If you would like to submit an entry please email it to  justin [at] impactcharlotte [dot] com.

Ian Clark is married to Crystal Clark and together they have 2 children.  He is the Director of Business Development for Newchapter, a distinct brand, and a specific system for creating successful College Ministry Residence Halls. Ian also serves as an elder at Crossroads Church in Monticello, IL.  You can find him on twitter: @iantclark and facebook: and he also blogs at You can email him at




  1. We experience this every year. A student comes from a good home, good church, good friends…and then 2 months into the college experience they decide to church isn’t for them. My answer is relatively simple…COMMUNITY! This is why Impact is partnering with NewChapter!

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