I was about to post some stuff on the book that I started reading in the previous post, but I’ve had a few interesting things come through my inbox in the last day.
And let me say this, because I often talk to people who think that college students are the same as they have always been and that campus ministry should be done in the same way it has always been done. Wrong on both of those issues. College students are not the same, and I’ve noticed a drastic change in the last 2-3 years, especially in conjunction with online social networking such as Facebook and MySpace. So we have to continue asking the question what does college ministry look like on campuses and in the church today? How should it be done different?
So here is what has come through my box in the last 24 hours…
The first is a college video from the Youth Transition Network, which I think captures a few snippets of some of the issues facing college students today. I think one would be surprised to walk on a college campus in 2007 and see what takes place. I don’t consider myself naive by any means, but even stepping foot on UCLA’s campus on the weekend (which begins on Thursday night and runs through Sunday) can be very eye opening.
Live Above from the Youth Transition Network
Second, I receive a online newsletter from The Ivy Jungle campus ministry network. And every issue they talk about Trends in Student Ministry, Culture and Higher Education. Here were a few that caught my eye:
Unchrisitan: A new study by the Barna group confirms what many have felt to be true – many young adults today are more skeptical resistant to Christianity than they were 10 years ago. The results are chronicled in the book, Unchristian, by Dave Kinneman of the Barna Group and Gabe Lyons of the Fermi Project.** The research concludes that Americans ages 16-29 are becoming increasingly disillusioned with Christianity. In fact, only 16% said they have a “favorable impression” of Christianity. Only 3% have a favorable view toward “evangelicals.” The most common terms to describe Christians are judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%). When asked about the positive attributes of Chrisitianity, the best impression was “Christianity teaches the same basic ideas as other religions (82%). Good values (76%) and friendly (71%) were two other positive descriptors. Only 55% said Christianity is a faith they respect. The most common perception about Christianity is that it is “anti-homosexual,” a belief held by 91% of respondents. (Barna.org September 24, 2007)
Overburdened Counselors: As more students go to college and more arrive on campus with mental health problems, many of the nations on campus counseling centers are stretched thin. Some use off campus therapists and others have three week waiting lists to deal with the demand. Despite the attention of mental disorders brought on by the Virginia Tech shootings, some centers have continued to see their funding diminish. 92% of counseling directors say that the number or students with severe mental health issues has increased in recent years.. 63% say they are concerned over the increased demand for services by students, but without an increase in funding from schools. 37% of college students say they felt “so depressed it was difficult to function” in the past year. Clinical depression has increased dramatically on campus since 1990. Kansas State University says that 60% of students who seek mental health counseling are clinically depressed. (AP September 19, 2007)
Microsoft Adds Facebook as a Friend? Microsoft is reportedly considering an investment in Facebook. The investment could be as much as $500 million in the 3 year old social networking site. Facebook founders rejected a $1 billion buyout offer from Yahoo last year. The site now has 30 million members, second to News Corp’s MySpace (110 million). The site generates $100 million in revenue each year and may go public in 2009. Some speculate that Facebook may actually start a bidding war between Microsoft and Google who may also want to be in on the action. (USA Today September 24, 2007)
As I continue to look at some of the trends and paradigm shifts in college ministry, even in the last 2-3 years I am left scratching my head at times. I’m also very thankful that I went back to grad school to pursue a masters in counseling, as I am finding that my M.Div. and MFT are working overtime these days with the issues that are arising.