Campus church plant or supplant?
    April 8 2015 by John Alden Tagliarini, Bryson City, N.C.

    I have noticed the changing and challenging nature of ministry on college campuses. Baptist Student Unions have seen dramatic transformation over the last two decades. I admire those who minister in such settings as these.
     
    I always understood student ministries to function in concert with local churches. Working alongside congregations to disciple students puts the “para” in para-church.
     
    The new model of an actual church on campus fulfills a number of perceived needs. Students are comfortable with their peers with whom they share classes, sports, dorms and meals. A homogeneous worship style attracts and unifies this narrow demographic. God is glorified and the gospel is preached by faithful leaders.
     
    However, as local congregations lose their students to the church on campus, these other local expressions of the body of Christ suffer the dearth of college-aged fervor and insights. Worse, these students may not experience the richness of life with children, adults and seniors. And, someday, they will have children and grow old.
     
    When leaders scheduled campus ministry during the week, students were free to attend churches on Sunday. The postmodernists will argue that the church needs to reform, to better meet the needs of those students, most of whom were not attending on Sundays anyway. This is true. But how does transformation take place with a non-present partner?
     
    I have sympathy for the leaders of churches on campuses meeting during “church” hours, such as 11 [a.m.] on Sundays. You are no doubt, reaching people not otherwise touched by grace. But I plead for your sensitivity to the congregations surrounding you who also aspire to reach college students.
     
    Specifically, given the geography wherein a “new church plant” sets up adjacent to an existing congregation, on their property as leased to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and schedules worship at 11 a.m. Sunday, compromising an already difficult parking issue, it does not seem right to me. I wonder whether the effort constitutes a church plant or a church supplant.
     
    John Alden Tagliarini
    Bryson City, N.C.

    4/8/2015 11:25:11 AM by John Alden Tagliarini, Bryson City, N.C. | with 1 comments
    Filed under: campus church, college ministry




Comments
Suzanne Hyde
While I respect your opinion as a fellow Christian, I have to question your use of the word "supplant" when referencing the Campus Church. By definition, the word supplant means, "to supersede, especially by force or treachery; to take the place of and serve as a substitute for, especially by reason of superior excellence or power; to uproot, to eradicate." As a regular attendee and volunteer for our Campus Church at WCU, it is not and has never been the goal or intention to compete with, replace or supersede any of our sister churches in our community but rather to reach out to the unchurched and those who are in need of hearing the Word as taught from men ordained and called by God to reach out to the lost. We certainly do not believe that we are "superior" and would prefer to work together with our local churches, all for the same goal -- to reach the lost for Christ.

We do have many adults and children in our congregation. Our children have special classes each Sunday morning and we also have weekly ministries and Bible studies that focus on small groups and growing those groups in order to reach more in our communities. Again, not in any type of competition but to reach out to those who are hurting in so many ways in their own personal lives; those who are seeking a loving and a Holy God.

The Word of God is preached each week and the services are truly uplifting. Since the Campus Church introduction on the campus of WCU just over 2 years ago, we have seen over 500 come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. The outreach to these college kids is tremendous. My husband and I stand behind these college kids and the leadership of the Campus Church as they seek God's guidance in leading these young people to Christ. My concern is this: should we all not work together for one goal, for one purpose, to glorify God and build His kingdom? Why are we worried about parking and who has the biggest congregation? This is not a competition.
I encourage you to uplift and pray for these young people who have stepped out on faith to reach the lost rather than constantly criticizing and attempting to tear down. WCU has a student body of over 10,000 and is only one campus in our state. There are plenty to reach out to. Why don't you get started today!
4/14/2015 9:26:30 AM

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