Monday, May 29, 2006

Corner Living 2

As I have thought about living on the corner here in Glenwood, I wondered how this might translate to other ministries as well. For example, are there “high traffic” areas in dorms or on campus that might enable us to have more frequent contact with students who might not ordinarily come to our events?

When I was a campus staff worker, I always advocated for student small groups to meet in the dorms versus the student center or an off-campus apartment. There is usually constant activity in the dorms and there is a greater chance of someone stumbling upon your SG community that's meeting a in dorm parlor than if it is behind an apartment door. Meeting in a dorm also gives a ready-made strategic mission field for your group. As for where to live in that dorm, if you are on a hall, then maybe by the stairs or nearest the bathroom, provided you leave your door open and are active in engaging the flow of traffic that will come past. In my old dorm, Ehringhaus, I would have chosen a suite that is nearest the stairs/elevators and a room that has a window looking out onto the balcony.

As for meeting spaces, some of where we meet is dicatated by the whims and space limitations of our universities, but at UNCG there was great benefit in moving our LG meetings into the student center and out of a distant auditorium-style classroom on campus. Again, putting ourselves in higher-traffic areas to increase our opportunities of interacting with others and being seen by them.

I think about the trend with many churches today as they grow - the plan is usually to buy a big plot of land way out and have people drive to you. This does not seem much like a corner strategy to me, and I am being more and more drawn to planting smaller churches in close proximity to people (especially in the city).

Some of the costs of these kinds of moves are that we are likely to get interrupted, whether that's in the dorm SG when things on the hall get loud; or in the LG meetings where be occassionally get double-booked and lose our room for the evening in the students center; or in church, where different types of people that we are not necessarily eager to deal with can stumble into service on a Sunday. But interruptions are not always bad things, and they can provide us with some great moments of being out of control but being in step with the Holy Spirit (see the feeding of the 5,000 in Mark).

1 comment:

Macon said...

On interuptions: It seems that while Jesus did take time "away" to be just with his disciples, his ministry was often "on the corner" and always being interupted. He gets interupted by parents bringing their little children, by four friends bringing their paralyzed friend, by lepers, by a woman who was bleeding, by a centurion, by teachers of the law. All that to say, I think you're in good company here.

Not incidentally, the on-the-campus value of InterVarsity was something I think is exactly right. If an InterVarsity Chapter is doing something core to it's ministry (LG, SG, Prayer Meetings, Discipling) that isn't meeting on campus, then it loses a big part of it's essential InterVarsity-ness. And back to your point, doing those things closer to high traffic areas is the bestest of all.