And this is where it all began. 12 years ago I met someone like no other. A good friend, and a good man. Today we went back on the campus of Missouri State University and hung out for a while. We checked out all the places that we use to rule over a decade ago.
And while so much has changed on campus, things absolutely stay the same. A few things hit me today:
- I am old, and I am not cool
- I am ugly and college people are not
- I am smarter now than I used to be, but these people think they're brilliant (how much they have to learn)
- Churches have no idea what it's going to take to reach college campuses like this. They are hurting, and desperately in need of Jesus, but they will not come to programs at your church. They are a community all unto themselves and you will HAVE to go to them. There's just no other alternative
- College was fun. And in some moments, I wish I could go back. I loved those times, not so much for the craziness I was engaged in but because of the community of people I was a part of. Which got me to thinking:
Why can't churches build community like college campuses do? Why are churches so isolationist while college is so communal? Is it just because they live together in tight quarters? I don't think that's the whole reason. I think more and more it's because they are there to experience a new phase of life and they are looking for folks to experience it with.
Which differs from the church because A) We don't believe we enter new phases of life, we just think we have life and B) We DO NOT seek folks to experience it with. Parents and older folks just become more isolationist in the way they live. College kids gravitate towards community. Older folks don't. I think that's why I feel at home at college campuses or around young folks because community is something I thrive on.
12 years ago, in the room two windows above my head in this picture, the guy on my right walked in and sat down. He didn't come to win a theological argument. He didn't come to convince me of my sin. He cam in the power of the Holy Spirit and out of love for a friend, and he shared what was on his heart. In that room, God changed my heart, made me a new creation, and set me on a path of being a disciple of Jesus. George did what the majority of new Christians are not willing to do today and he just invested in the life of another human being.
He listened. He didn't judge. He held firm to what he believed. He shared what was appropriate. He spoke the truth. He hung out. He guided. He listened (so important I listed it twice). I'm eternally grateful that he did. But I'm more grateful that Jesus died the death I should have died and lived the life I should have lived.
I'm glad George is here this week. It's been a good time of looking back, enjoying today, and dreaming about tomorrow.