Resiliency in College Ministry
Covid-19 has forced us to pivot constantly as we partner with universities and try to abide by our cities’ rules. Our transient young adults are navigating the rough seas of unclear steps for health, safety, and survival. I have never been more unsure of how things will look in a month or maybe even next week. Constant pivoting is starting to take its toll.
So what are we supposed to do? I am reminded of the early Christ followers in the book of Acts. I see the disciples’ confusion after Jesus ascended to heaven reflected in the faces of our leaders, fellow staff, and in my own mirror. The days of knowing what to expect feel like a distant memory, and yet, we too are promised the Holy Spirit. I see a present Pentecost as a multiethnic church cries out to God for justice. I see the early church’s commitment to caring for one another as revealed in acts of love, great and small, performed in so many of our congregations.
These are the things I take comfort in as we enter the uncharted territory of college ministry in this time. I take comfort in knowing that we are neither the first nor the last Christ followers to enter the unknown. I take comfort knowing that the Holy Spirit has led the church through turbulent times and will continue to lead us now. I can let go of my desire to hold onto the way things were last February and let go of my fear that the ministry will spiral into nothing.
We cling to what we know, yet following Jesus inherently calls us into the new and unknown. Like in Peter’s great sermon of Acts 2, we are reminded that the Lord is at our right hand. Jesus’s death and resurrection is the physical reminder that we can rest in hope, for we are not abandoned. I hear the words of Peter as a call to take comfort that we are not in this season of ministry alone. Our ministries will not sink or swim by our own volition. I breathe knowing that although I may not see the levels of “success” I saw last February, our ministry is not based on my hard work alone. It’s easy to spiral into fear and worry for the future, but the Lord our God has reminded us that we can rest in hope for we know Jesus. We know the path of life and are filled with joy in God’s presence.
We don’t know what next month‘s ministry will bring, but we do know that we serve a good God and we are doing his work. And in that, I can rest.
Reverend Caitlin Brown
Baptist Campus Minister at Old Dominion University