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.
As a college or university professor or professional staff member, you are one of the most influential people in our society. And as a Christian professor or staff member, you have great opportunity to impact your students and colleagues, as well as your institution, for the cause of Christ. Yet, as I have traveled around the United States and the world over the past 25 years as a university professor and as National Faculty Representative for Christian Leadership Ministries, I have met few professors or staff members who really are having a significant impact for Christ on their campuses.
I believe that many Christian professors and staff members sincerely desire to make a difference for Christ in the lives of their students and colleagues and on their institution, but they simply don’t feel equipped to do so. They don’t know what is permissible, what is legal, or what is appropriate. They don’t know attractive ways of reaching out to those around them in the university community. And let’s face it, most of us are very, very busy. There is not enough time to accomplish all that is necessary to faithfully discharge the duties the institution expects. There certainly isn’t time to add ministry involvement in any significant way to what is already required.
If you can identify with any of these statements, this manual is for you. I have been involved as a university professor in Christian ministry on a secular university campus for 25 years. During my time as a professor, I was subject to the same pressures many of you face -- heavy pressure to publish in scholarly journals and pressure to be a good classroom teacher. Throughout my career, I sought to reach out to my students and colleagues in a Christian way, and I tried to have an impact for Christ on my institution. The material presented in this book outlines strategies I have accumulated through years of ministry and represents the entire spectrum of ministry opportunities for Christian university and college professors and professional staff.
I personally have used many of the ministry activities presented here and those which I haven’t experienced personally, have been used by friends and colleagues at other institutions. These ideas will allow you to have an impact for Christ in your setting that is legal, ethical, appropriate, attractive and effective. By carefully selecting a few of these strategies, you can have a significant influence for Christ with only a modest investment of time and energy. In 25 years of ministering on the university campus, I rarely spent more than an hour or two a week in ministry activity. Over the span of a career, an hour or so a week can amount to a significant investment, especially when it is committed to the sovereign hand of the Lord.
I believe that one day, we will stand before God to give Him an account for our service. I further believe that God expects us to have an impact for Him in our spheres of influence. For those of us who work on university and college campuses, that includes the campus -- our students, our colleagues, and the institution. I don’t know about you, but I want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant," when my service is assessed. Thus, my motivation for ministry was always to be a faithful servant, and my purpose in assembling these materials is to share with you some insights God has given me as I have endeavored to serve Him in the secular university.
I am truly indebted to Dr. Jim Engel and Dr. Walter Bradley for challenging me in the summer of 1970 to begin to think about using my position as a university professor to have an impact for Christ and to many of my colleagues at the University of Alabama over the years since for encouraging me and for participating with me in Christian ministry. For nearly 24 years, there has been a cooperative and, indeed, pioneer spirit among the Christian faculty and staff at the university as we dreamed, planned, and worked together and individually to have an impact for Jesus. I am sure that they join me in challenging you to make a difference. We hope you will find these ideas and materials helpful as you seek to impact those in your university for the Savior.
I also want to thank my daughter, Jennifer Mellichamp, for a thorough job of editing the completed manuscript and to Mike Duggins, Associate National Director of Christian Leadership Ministries, for reading the manuscript and making insightful comments. Finally, I want to thank John Gay of Christian Leadership Ministries for a splendid cover design and Barry Huckaby also of Christian Leadership Ministries for taking care of many of the administrative chores that attend publication of a book.
© Copyright 1997, Joseph McRae Mellichamp
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