Brady Bobbink


Brady came as a student in the fall of 1969 as a non-believer. He came to faith in fall of 1970 through a fellow student.
A group of students and young believers, we started the college ministry in the spring of 1972. Brady graduated at the end of fall quarter in 1973 with a BA in Secondary Ed. and returned in the end of winter quarter of 1974 as a campus minister.
Forty-five years later, Brady ended his full-time career as a campus minister at Western Washington University. He was the longest serving Chi Alpha campus minister at one campus his entire adult ministry.

After he graduated from WWU with my Secondary Education degree, I had a very unexpected encounter with the Lord.
“I worked late nights in my janitor business. Over three nights as I was driving alone, the Lord was very present to me. The third night, this mental picture came to me of Western all lit up on the hill it sits on overlooking Bellingham.”
Then Jesus’ words about “a city on a hill could not be hidden” entered my mind and left me with the question to the Lord, “Do you want me to go back to Western?” It was an idea he had never thought of doing.

He wasn’t raised with much church background. He was a Jesus person planning on teaching.
The Lord said yes to his question. He had a deep sense of peace at that moment. He asked, “how does one go back?” He told the Lord, “If You open the door, I will go back.”
The following Sunday Brady was invited to visit a church he had never attended. Following the service, the pastor (Richard Ellison), asked Brady out for a burger. The pastor was aware of Brady’s involvement in campus ministry.
The Lord had put Brady on the pastor’s heart a couple of weeks earlier, and the pastor had gone to his board and received permission to approach Brady to see if he was interested in returning to campus and if so the church (Hillcrest Chapel—a church of about twenty members at that time) would be willing to help make it possible.
Brady became the Wednesday night service teacher, and an offering was taken to help him do campus missionary. He went back to the campus that spring term, and the rest is history.

Brady draws upon his years of ministry to offer keys to your longevity in campus ministry:
Continuing to breathe and staying put in the same place will do it.
Don’t move because of positive or negative traumatic events. Move because you are fully convinced you are called by the Lord to move. I heard him call me to WWU, and I have continued in that call. There have been times of review and consideration of other invitations, but only in the attempt to discern if I am to move. So far no new orders have come.

Reject false assumptions. One of my favorites was the assumption some had that because I was successful as a campus pastor I should cash in that reputation and get a job as a lead pastor of a local church. Assumption: real pastors lead local churches. Another is that older folks can’t do campus ministry. It may be true that we will need younger men and women partnering with us, but my campus has a significant number of professors who are in their sixties or beyond. Oftentimes they are the folks with the greatest impact in their departments.

Keep the Sabbath. The central concern is not which day of the week I take as a day of rest. But I do believe that not having a minimum of 24 uninterrupted hours each week works against our spiritual, mental, and physical health over the long run.

Surround yourself with people of prayer, insight, truth telling and shared vision.
Keep your inquisitive learning spirit alive. Be a perpetual reader of thoughtful and broad topics related to your faith, as well as to the culture and world you find yourself seeking to make a difference in.
Campus ministry often feels fast and furious. The feeling of redundancy can press folks to look for something that has a longer lifespan than 30 intense weeks and perpetual transition of a significant number of your community each year. I have found it essential to remind myself that while the questions oftentimes are the same from each entering group of new students, and I have heard my answers to them many times before, this new young student in front of me may have never heard a helpful answer before and certainly not in the environment of the secular university. This awareness on my part keeps my mind and heart fresh and thankful for the opportunity to be strategically placed to impact another life that finds him/herself searching for answers to the great questions of life. I may help them keep their untested faith in the test of the university, or I may sow a seed that will germinate and grow into a later commitment that will impact the person’s earthly legacy and their ultimate destiny.

Excerpted from January 8, 2018

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