Summer at Brown/RISD

God doesn't go on vacation, but Brown University and The Rhode Island School of Design do. This is the endless headache of campus ministry--that is, the constant disruption to one's ministry momentum caused by the Summer and Winter breaks. How to cope? First, we maximize the time on campus that we have with students when they're around. Second, we try not to let things get too scattered during the off-season so called. In town, we have at least a dozen for whom there is Summer RUF. Student leaders are mainly leading that, and they are working through a video series that is explicitly about the reformed tradition, at my request. Last academic year, the group fared well, and I sensed many were ready for deeper conversation about the sovereignty of God, the doctrines of grace, the authority of scripture, and the history of the Church to name a few topics. It's great so many are around this Summer to benefit.

Also, I'm in touch with several students, who are not in town, for a variety of reasons. One is in NYC and we began to speak about spiritual things just as the Spring semester was winding down. He'll be back in the Fall, but I can't let the important questions go without a little interaction during the Summer. Another is on a medical exchange program in China. She was just starting to join our group, also at the end of the Spring. And so, I try to stay in touch with her building a casual rapport over email. Another is home in Indonesia and will be one of our Bible study leaders next Fall, but her family's seen some hardship this Summer. In addition to sending her some Bible study materials (she left her copy in storage accidentally), I've been listening carefully how she and her family are doing. Several students are in San Francisco. For some of them, the Bay Area is their home. One student is interning at Facebook; another at Western Digital; another in an art gallery; and another in the fashion industry.

There's no missing it. Brown and RISD are institutions of a national, and arguably an international, profile. This means students come from all over the world, and the alumni/ae go into all the world. In light of this, what good can a campus ministry do? What must RUFBrownRISD do for the sake of Christ, his church and kingdom? What must we focus on? The short of it is to reach, train, and equip believers in the matters of Christian faith and practice. We set our sights on extraordinary goals through ordinary means. By regular, email-by-email, person-to-person contact, we hope to have a significant impact. By regular, one-step-at-a-time, Christian ministry of word and deed, we labor for good fruit decades down the line and the world over, trusting of course that God is at work.

Fundraising is also a chief feature of my Summer responsibilities. As much as I'm in touch with students, all the more I am active in the Summer, traveling to see supporters and give reports. After years of development, we have almost 1,000 people on our correspondence list, many of whom are alumni/ae located in many of the major cities throughout the US. Every dollar counts, and we work hard to write, call, and meet with as many people as possible. Whether someone has been giving for years or they're just becoming interested in RUFBrownRISD, it is the duty of this ministry to keep in regular touch by all means possible, and through all of it, to show we take nothing for granted. That's the commitment RUF has to its team of supporters, and we work hard to make right on that commitment. Not an easy task, but I once heard someone muse, "If it isn't hard, it isn't worth doing."

Other items on my to-do list include: plan website overhaul for roll-out in the Winter or Summer of 2014, layout a year-end promotional piece to go with December newsletter mailing, and (my personal favorite) correspond with one student leader on a new smartphone app. Speaking of which, if you're interested, please browse to http://myapp.is/RUFBrownRISD to try it out! One of our leaders is putting it together in preparation for September outreach.

Eddie Park, Campus Minister at Brown/RISD
July 25, 2013
Northeast@ruf.org • 610-691-0988 • 631 Fourth Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18018