5 Reasons You Should Read “Reaching the Campus Tribes” by my friend, Benson Hines
A few months ago I became aware of this guy Benson Hines, who had gone on an extraordinary yearlong journey around the country, visiting every college campus and ministry he could find. I think he hit something like 45 states and over 300 campuses. Extraordinary.
One fruit of this trip was a fantastic (and free!) eBook called Reaching the Campus Tribes, which you can download over at his blog Exploring College Ministry. Benson also blogs about campus ministry every day, so make sure you check it out and bookmark it!
Anyway, I initially found out about Ben on Twitter, (@BensonHines) and discovered he was on another trip around the country. I extended an offer for him to stay with us if he was ever coming through State College. (Jess wasn’t sure what to think of my invitation to someone I had met on Twitter). Sure enough, a few weeks later Ben was staying with us, and I got to show him around Penn State. We also had some great times talking about campus ministry around the country. A few weeks ago, we got to hang out again in Dallas, when I was at Leadership Network’s Ideation Experience. I got to introduce Ben to the Leadnet crew, including DJ Chuang, who recorded snippets of our campus ministry shoptalk on his iPhone. (Did you ever do anything with that, DJ?)
Anyway, here are 5 reasons you should read Ben’s eBook:
1. It’s an honest, helpful snapshot into the state of campus ministry in the US today. Most people talk about their very localized campus ministry experience, and very few have a sense of what’s really happening out there. Not only does Ben know, he’s been there. I don’t anyone else with that breadth of perspective in campus ministry today.
2. Ben’s not here to bash anyone. The eBook celebrates what’s working and what’s going well. Sure, there are critiques in there, but they are not spiteful. Ben doesn’t have an axe to grind, and he’s not overly critical. He wants to elevate the conversation, not drag it down. As someone who is prone to being critical, I appreciate this trait.
3. Ben’s not advocating any particular model. But he does advocate a Missional, Church-based orientation to campus ministry. Ben says that the biggest insight of his trip was that campus ministry needs to move to a campus-ministry-as-missions orientation, as opposed to several alternatives (young adult programming, extended youth group, etc.) This is a needed corrective.
4. Like much of the ministry world, we have many practitioners who work so hard IN ministry that they never work ON it. To make sure we’re doing the right things, we need to step back from the trees and take a hard look at the forest. Reading this eBook will help you do that, and bring into focus why you’re doing what you do, and enable you to join the discussion!
5. Because he’s a great guy, who cares about campus ministry. And that’s somebody worth supporting!