Yesterday, I heard from my friend Tom. Tom was a student in my first campus ministry, located at a medium sized university in central Nebraska. Tom and I met weekly for a couple of years. We shared ideas and challenges and frustrations. Tom and I discussed music and worship leading often, as Tom is a gifted guitar player and vocalist and led one of worship teams. We talked about Prayer Warriors and Quiet Times and other bizarrely capitalized phrases in Christian Spirituality.
Tom and I have gone on several mission trips together. Most recently, we spent a week in Mexico in May. Tom and I have a lot of fun together. One of the greatest things we have ever done was create a list of words we find terribly disgusting. Words like “mucus,” “bunion,” and “halitosis.”
After I left the ministry in central Nebraska, Tom went on and graduated and headed off to pursue a law degree. Yesterday, he emailed me, stating that he had just accepted a position as a staff attorney for the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. He will get to write Constitutional and criminal opinions for the Judge. He will be working one notch below the U. S. Supreme Court.
In his email, Tom told me that he would be “praying for wisdom” and that he was excited, but nervous for this new job. He said, “I think God has been preparing me for ‘such a time as this.'”
I’m proud of Tom. We desperately need Christians who engage the culture and society from the inside. As a campus minister, I am always hearing churches encouraging their young people to go to Bible college and become ministers or missionaries. And that’s fine.
But what if someone, like Tom, wants to be a lawyer? Why aren’t we telling them to go be a lawyer…and serve Christ in that field? Why aren’t we telling young people that being a Christian and a teacher is a noble calling? If you want to be a doctor, that’s great. But what kind of doctor do you want to be?
This is one reason (of several!) that I think campus ministries are essential. Not everyone is going to grow up and be a preacher. And so we need Christian communities on public university campuses who will walk alongside these students, like Tom, who want to go into another field and serve Christ.