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.
We had a dean once at Alabama whose hobby was collecting sayings. He had been doing this for a long time and he had a saying for almost every occasion. One of his favorites was a Bible verse that he used to justify travel budgets for his faculty and, of course, it became near and dear to our hearts because we were the beneficiaries of the funds he raised by quoting it. He never gave the complete citation (I think deans can get away with this), but did say it was from the book of Daniel. I looked it up with help from my concordance because he had taken some executive liberty in his paraphrase of it. "They traveled to and fro across the land, and knowledge increased." Daniel 12:4 While Dean Mitchell was referring to scholars traveling to academic conferences, I think the inference can be applied to academic people in general. We do travel a lot. And as a consequence, those of us who are Christians often have opportunities beyond our own universities.
I mentioned earlier the impact on my view of my career Acts 1:8b has had, "And you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem; and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the Earth." When I first started thinking about using my influence as a Christian professor, I was pretty well focused on the University of Alabama -- my Jerusalem. But as I tried to be faithful in reaching out in my university, God opened up opportunities for me to have an influence for Him in an ever-expanding circle. And I have traveled to represent Him on many occasions, literally "in the remotest parts of the Earth." I just returned from meetings in Western Europe where the international leadership of Campus Crusade for Christ discussed how we could establish a ministry presence on every major university campus in the world! That is pretty much a world vision.
I think the principle applies in general: as we are faithful in our Jerusalem, the Lord expands our borders and sends us farther and farther from there as His representatives. I think the principle is especially true for those of us in academe. In this section, I want to outline a number of ministry opportunities you have as you begin to look beyond the borders of your own university or college campus.
© Copyright 1997, Joseph McRae Mellichamp
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