Very helpful post by John Stackhouse on how the church - and by extension, campus ministries - should seek to engage students on the university campus.
From the conclusion:
Much campus ministry over the last century has merely been an extension the local church work of basic disciple-making onto a nearby campus. Should it continue? Perhaps it should, especially with international students and others who might need extra time to integrate into local churches. But to offer a “spiritual kindergarten,” I suggest, is not the central mission of campus ministry. It is the main responsibility of the local church, and campus ministries instead should do what they are peculiarly situated and, I trust, equipped to do.
Evangelism on campus? Of course that should continue. That’s “on the job evangelism,” which every Christian ought to do. And with a special “people group” in view—namely, university students and professors—one can tailor apologetical and evangelistic initiatives to their distinctive needs. When people do respond positively to such initiatives, then campus ministries must connect them with local churches and their helpful programs in basic Christian life: with Alpha programs, small groups, Sunday School classes, and the like.
Without this clear sense of what they are to do versus what the local church is to do, campus ministries neglect their particular work. Thus they compound the problem by competing with local churches: “Why even go to a local church? It’s so much less interesting than this student group”—which in the nature of the case is tailored to and includes only this nicely homogeneous demographic! Thus campus ministries in effect train students in a “non-local-church” paradigm, which devastates them upon graduation as they must, in fact, make their way into local churches or flounder alone.
I'm thankful for the students and the campus ministries we're connected to on the University of Georgia campus. We're engaged in some really fruitful discussion about how the church can partner with these ministries to help students grow and thrive as missionaries to the campus, living in community, empowered by the gospel.