Juices are flowing on this one and I think it’s kind of fun. If you haven’t read the posts yet I’d encourage you to do so. My desire for this series is simply to get thought going, for us to be able to have answers for the way we do things, and to take a look (hopefully a fresh one) at how we’ve been going about these environments. I also want to challenge the idea that we simply continue doing what we’re doing just because that’s always the way we’ve done it.
My desire is not to bash these environments in any way – although I smile a bit when people think that’s what I’m doing. Believe it or not I do think these environments are needed today and this post will in fact show that (hopefully).
That said, let me throw out this thought on these environments…
Mission or Education?
The question I have is in regard to the role these college’s see themselves having. Or, even more pointedly, what do parents and/or others view them having? What is the perception people have?
I’m a bit concerned that they have simply become an accredited “safe Christian environment” where people can be instructed in a particular field/major. We provide an environment and in some ways a sub-culture. Every college campus is a sort of sub-culture in itself, so some of this is inevitable!
But, personally I’d like to see more of a focus on mission. I’d love our Christian colleges to focus more on equipping missionaries in a particular sociological field! This is some of the mindset out there, but I don’t think the majority. The professors ought to be the top of the line in their field, ought to have lived out their faith in the particular field they are teaching, and be equipping their students to view that field as a mission. They should not only know the industry, but also the people in that industry. They ought to be educating our students with the knowledge necessary to excel in that field, but also modeling a missionary lifestyle in that particular area.
I’d love to see our college’s deconstructing the Christian college sub-culture (or bubble) as much as possible, helping our students to know what it’s like to live in the culture of our day and what it means to view themselves as missionaries in a particular field. Instead I’m fearful that we are graduating too many people that are comfortable in the environment we’ve provided, but don’t know how to function as a missionary in the area/field they’ve focused on.
By the way, I also think the church has the same problem in many ways. We all need to focus on mission more.