Mike Duggins has served on the staff of Christian Leadership Ministries for 13 years. He is currently the director of CLM's field staff. He and his wife have three children, and live in Carrollton, TX.
How many lives do your ideas touch each year? If you teach large undergraduate sections at a major state university, the number of students in your classes may run into the hundreds.
If you focus your attention on upper level and graduate classes, the numbers you touch this year may be less, but the lasting effect of interacting with graduate students, who may themselves go on to teach, greatly expands your influence. If you publish in scholarly journals, your colleagues around the world may be influenced by your ideas and, in turn, begin to pass those ideas on to their students. But what is the impact of your ideas as a Christian?
James Davidson Hunter (professor of sociology and religious studies at the University of Virginia) in his book, Culture Wars, The Struggle To Define America, argues that our entire culture is embroiled in a clash of ideas. One of the main fields of conflict is over the source of moral authority. Hunter points out that those on the "traditional" side in the culture war believe that there is a source of absolute moral authority and that source is a transcendent, personal God. He says "progressives" embrace a view that "moral and spiritual truth can only be conditional and relative."  Obviously, these competing views of reality seriously influence a person's understanding of family, education, politics, and personal morality. Nowhere is this culture war more evident and the stakes higher than on the university campus today.
Are you fully engaged in this raging culture war? Are you using every opportunity to exert a positive influence for Jesus Christ?
If students and others on campus are blind to the basic views of reality expressed in the Bible (there is absolute truth, people are selfish, human life has worth, there is a spiritual realm, there is life after death, there is accountability for our actions, etc.) they will never understand the need for Jesus Christ. They will never realize why they must place their trust in Him to know God personally and experience forgiveness and eternal life.
As you return to another year of teaching, research, and service on your campus, how will you engage in this culture war - this battle of ideas? Let me suggest several ways.
First, make a commitment to the Lord and yourself to present Biblical truth at every opportunity. What do I mean by "Biblical truth?" I mean ideas that are relevant to your discipline and consistent with the Bible. For example, in a marketing or management class you may raise the perspective that people are basically selfish (although not necessarily referencing the Bible as the source) and discuss the implications both professionally and personally. Each day in your classes, look for ways to introduce your values, ideas, and understanding of truth. Take advantage of follow-up conversations to give your reasons for your beliefs.
Second, don't be a "lone-ranger" Christian. Begin to meet weekly with at least one other Christian professor on your campus for prayer and mutual encouragement. It's a difficult habit to begin, but vital to increasing your impact.
Third, be a visible Christian. Let people know where you stand on important issues. Include your name with other Christian professors in a campus newspaper ad. Attend campus-wide meetings for Christian faculty. Let your "light" shine.
Finally, take advantage of the experience we have and the resources we provide to help you increase your influence for Christ on your campus. Christian Leadership has a team of professional field staff around the country to serve you and a host of tested and proven strategies and tools which can help you maximize your effectiveness.
We can help you gather and organize other Christian faculty for ministry and help equip and encourage them to join with you in your vision for the campus.
As you pray for your campus and for God's direction there, let us work with you as your partner. You will be amazed at the influence you can have in the battle of ideas on your campus as you trust God and engage in the fray.