Scott Sunquist the president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary recently attended a banquet where four InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff were celebrated for twenty-five years of service. Sunquist had served for six years with IVCF and knew that “ twenty-five years of raising money, reaching out to non-Christians on campuses, and training leaders only to have them graduate and move on, well, it can be tiring.”
He identified four qualities that he observed in each leader:
- Healthy family relationships ensured longevity in ministry.
- Courage and drive even when things are difficult was important.
- A strong commitment to see students come to Christ.
- A commitment to global missions.
He suggested humor should be added as an important characteristic of long term ministers.
- All campus ministers had a sense of humor and joy of life.
National XA first began celebrating campus ministers 30 year of service in 2009. Several XA leaders that started with XA in the 1970s and 1980s and 1990s made XA a lifetime career and in the new 21st century reached this milestone and beyond. In all 39 personnel have received recognition for 30 years of faithful service.
(Left to right ) John Deisher (wife Kathy, not pictured), Carol and Michael Mowry, Belkis and Steve Lehman, Dana and Ronnie Hoover,Greg and Susan Tiffany are some of the XA leaders that have been honored for thirty years of campus ministry in the last three decades and remain on the job.
Chi Alpha celebrated 60 years in 2013 (1953-2013).
Longevity has been vitally important in XA as a characteristic that contributes to long term ministry. In fact, as early as 1987, when XA was relocated to AG US Missions, and campus ministers would soon receive national missionary appointment, our first policy manual outlined requirements that remain with us today, as in completion of the Campus Missionary-in-Training program, attendance at the Reach the University Institute, and securing ministerial credentials. XA also outlined qualifications like a pioneer spirit, courage, self-starting, interpersonal skills, a knowledge of the Word, and intellectual growth.
The manual outlined keys to longevity in campus ministry
- the character of the campus minister,
- the establishment of advisory committees or local boards,
- a secure financial support base,
- and a supportive district structure.
Through the years the training, the qualifications, and elements that contributed to viable campus ministry first envisioned in the late1980s have endured and ensured fruitfulness and longevity in XA.
We need old college ministers,” said Tim Casteel, in an article by the same name, that appeared in Collegiate Collective:
It takes a long time to build a college movement, 3-5 years to get going, 10-12 years to become established. We need leaders who will choose to invest in a college campus . . . Who will labor on college campuses for the next 10 to 20 to 30 years? The questions I ask myself: “Is this the best stewardship of my life for maximum gospel impact? Is this the best return I can get on the investment of my life?” And the answers so far have always been “yes,” because I believe that God has chosen college students as His primary vehicles in accelerating the evangelism of the world.
|Brady Bobbink in the third installment of the website: DennisGaylor.com shared seven keys to longevity. I encourage you to go back to the Q&A with Brady Bobbink https://campusministry.org/article/qa-with-brady-bobbink