I just moved from a town in which the college campus there didn’t play as huge a roll in the town as it could or should have. It wasn’t the fault of the campus at all. Many times, it felt like the campus was ignored by local residents. The town itself didn’t offer the college students much in the way of entertainment or hang out spots, enabling a few enterprising businesses to work around the dry country status by securing a liquor license for their restaurant. Other businesses that served the student population seemed to be the cell phone stores, movie theater and fast food joints.
We’ve moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, which according to the 2000 census, had 39,573 people in it. More than 20,000 of those were students attending Virginia Tech. Both Blacksburg and VT have grown since then. You cannot ignore the campus here. We have yet to experience football season, but locals assure me that on those home game weekends, you better know the back roads if you want to get to the store. VT is a massive presence here, rich in heritage and tradition.
I love the presence of the campus, but what I love even more is that there are vibrant campus ministries here, just as there were back home. I had the privilege of visiting with a student Monday who is a leader in Cru (Campus Crusade). He shared with me the leadership training process and how every student involved is equipped and expected to share their faith in an authentic, relational way.
In addition, there is the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. It’s near and dear to my heart – not just because I’m great friends with its director, but because I’m also a former BCM director. Its students too are enthusiastic and deeply devoted to making the hope of life in Christ known to students, faculty and staff at Tech.
I wanted to encourage you to drop by their websites and check ’em out. I expect to meet the other leaders of the dozens of campus ministries at VT in the weeks to come, but I wanted to highlight these two and ask you to begin praying for them as they prepare for a vitally busy few weeks of relationship-building, service and ministry.