There is perhaps no place the spirit of competition runs more rampant than on college campuses. From college sports’ rivalries to favored fraternities or sororities to the alumni swag we proudly wear—we feel deeply about our schools. This spirit of competition affects even Christian college ministries: Organizations span the confines of evangelicalism: InterVarsity, Cru, Navigators, CCO, Veritas Forum, RUF, and YoungLife are a few of the most prominent, among many more.
Invite leaders of any of these organizations to talk about their organizations and it won’t take long till they start contrasting their models and strategies. In a not-very-subtle manner, they will describe all the ways they employ a smarter approach than their rival organizations. There are helpful and constructive aspects to competition. Healthy relationships with peers can challenge us toward greater effectiveness. And, it is appropriate for us to articulate our unique organizational distinctiveness.
But to what end? Is our mission as followers of Jesus to grow our organizations or to grow God’s Kingdom? And what exactly are we afraid of? Do we believe God’s resources are limited? That there’s only so much to go around?
Over the last few years, several of the largest campus ministry organizations sensed God inviting them toward a more collaborative posture. These leaders believe their shared mission of sharing the love of Christ on all our country’s college campuses supersedes all their individual agendas.
Led by InterVarsity and Cru–and joined by 30 other collegiate ministries–this new venture has been dubbed “Every Campus.”
“The goal is… ‘zero campuses without an expression of a student ministry by 2025,” said Mark Gauthier, executive director for Cru’s US campus ministry. “It’s not about Cru, InterVarsity. It’s not about who gets to take credit for it,’ he added. ‘It’s about reaching the students and professors of this country.’”
On the Every Campus site, they invite everyone passionate about college students in this country to get involved, aggregating the reach of InterVarsity and Cru (for now) and soon populating the data from dozens of other ministries that have joined them. The Every Campus endeavor is in its infancy, focused first on recruiting followers of Jesus to pray for all 5,000 college campuses in this country. But who knows where it might go from here?
Like the new Bible translation collaboration, Every Campus points to a fresh wave of Christian ministries pursuing a mission beyond the boundaries of any one organization. This is good news for these organizations, for their leaders, and for our public witness to our increasingly skeptical neighbors.
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” – Jesus | John 17:22-23