Dr. Joseph McRae Mellichamp is Emeritus Professor of Management Science in the Manderson Graduate School of Business at the University of Alabama and National Faculty Representative for Christian Leadership Ministries. For 25 years, Dr. Mellichamp combined successful academic pursuits with effective Christian ministry activities.
I never dreamed when I retired 2 1/2 years ago and went full time with Christian Leadership Ministries, that my job description, which I defined myself, would be "union organizer." But this is essentially what I do. I travel around the U.S. and the world organizing Christian Faculty/Staff Fellowships. The good news is that Peggy and I have visited more than 100 different campuses in our travels so far and we have challenged faculty and staff on each campus to begin a ministry. The bad news is that there are only 2,900 campuses left in the U.S. and about 1,990 campuses in other countries. We need help! We are running out of steam, so it will probably take about five more years to hit the next 100 campuses. Another impossible situation unless we can enlist some of you to become union organizers as you travel around on university business. There are two specific ways you can help in this respect.
When you visit other campuses in this country or overseas, check with our Dallas office to see whether there is anything going on there. If there is, read the chapter on Travel with a Purpose to see what to do. If there isn’t, take that as an indication that you should try to get something started. If we have any contacts, get in touch with them and arrange to meet with them while you are on campus; if you arrive on the campus with no contacts, ask around, and you’ll probably uncover some. If you have a Christian Faculty/Staff Fellowship or any kind of ministry activity on your campus, you qualify as an expert. It should be a simple thing for you to take a couple of copies of this manual along with you and share some of the concepts with your newfound Christian colleagues. Challenge them to get something started. You might offer to put them in touch with our ministry and continue to help them as necessary.
Another option that you might consider is to start a Christian group in your professional organization(s). As Christians, we need to be impacting our academic disciplines and one effective way of doing this is getting together with Christian colleagues within the discipline to discuss appropriate opportunities. You can be sure there are other groups within the discipline who are meeting together to push a common agenda -- the gays and lesbians are well-organized and well-entrenched in this respect, appearing in the official conference program and enjoying organizational funding and sponsorship in many professional organizations. If Christians aren’t willing to take responsibility for setting agendas and policy in professional organizations, there are other groups who will. So consider becoming a "union organizer" in your professional organizations. One approach you might take as you step out in this way is to copy the chapter on the Christian Faculty/Staff Fellowship in this manual and get together with your Christian colleagues to discuss how the think tank approach could be modified to serve a role in the professional organization.
© Copyright 1997, Joseph McRae Mellichamp
Copies of Ministering in the Secular University are available for $12.50 for U.S. addresses and $25.00 for international destinations. Include the appropriate payment and request Ministering in the Secular University from