There were a couple of good questions posted by some commenters on the last post. They were curious of my thoughts about college ministry, as well as wondering what has changed in college ministry.
This is an issue that I hope to look at more in length over the next few weeks to month. One of the issues that I want to address is what Miriam Grossman talks about in her book Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student. I think it’s a very sobering look at the effects and ramifications of what happens in the “hook-up” culture of college. So I know that partying, sex, drugs, alcoholism, etc. is not new to college life, but I think that we are now beginning to hear more about the effects of that lifestyle.
I’m fascinated by this book particularly because her experience and research is in my own backyard of college ministry, UCLA. The stories that she shares about the depression, suicide and emotional baggage that occurs, especially in college women due to this culture are heartbreaking, and an aspect that we don’t hear about often.
I think that one of the things that has changed in college ministry is the nature of the “hook-up.” Not only are kids “hooking-up” (whether that means making out, having oral sex or sexual intercourse), but the degree to which it occurs is disturbing. I don’t know if there is research available in some of these areas (though I”m looking for it), but from my own experience of being a pastor and listening to student’s stories, I’m hearing more about “threesomes”, students video taping their sexual encounters on their cell phones, swapping partners, multiple partners in one night, etc, etc. And if you think this is only happening in college…it’s not. I’m shocked at what my high school pastor friends are telling me, and I’m more shocked at what my jr. high pastor friends are telling me as well. It is quite frightening. I recently had a jr. high pastor tell me that he found out that the kids in his group were having oral sex parties, where young jr. high girls would perform oral sex on as many as 10-15 guys a night.
So things are changing in jr. high, high school and college, and how we do ministry, and minister to them is changing as well, as we are often dealing with some pretty insane issues that I know weren’t totally prevalent years ago.
That is just one change that I’m talking about, though sex is not the only issue that I am thinking of or will talk about later.
And if you are a jr. high, high school or college pastor, director or volunteer, I would love to hear from you. Is what I’m sharing true to your own experiences working with kids? Or is this something new that you are hearing?