Bill Hager has been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for 21 years, the last four of which he has spent with Christian Leadership at the University of Georgia.
Local Christian Leadership Ministry representatives: should they lead, follow, or get out of the way?
Are you a faculty member on a campus that has a full-time CLM representative? I have some bad news for you. Chances are high that your CLM staff member is unqualified to lead a faculty ministry: no Ph.D., no publications in refereed journals, never applied for a grant, never faced a tenure review committee, never taught a college class, never served on a faculty committee, and no departmental affiliations. The CLM rep is a fish out of water.
It makes you wonder why they are involved in a ministry directed at secular university professors, doesn't it? Let me try to help you understand Christian Leadership reps. For the most part they just want God to use them in a special way. They believe that you, as a Christian professor on a secular campus, are the key to reaching the world for Christ ; you have something the world wants: knowledge. The CLM rep sees success when you are motivated, equipped, and involved in reaching out to your circle of influence.
Which leads to the question, how does a CLM rep fit into your local faculty ministry? Is he a leader, follower, director or servant?
The best way to describe his or her role is that of a foreign missionary. A missionary's role is to start a ministry in a different culture than his own in which there is no effective witness. That describes CLM staff on most campuses. They are not professors and will never be professors. The missionary is to learn the culture so he can understand the keys to ministering to that culture.
Furthermore, the aim of missionaries is to train the "natives" to become leaders themselves. If a missionary doesn't work to raise up indigenous leadership, three consequences will inevitably follow: (1) ministry will be stunted since growth cannot occur until the number of leaders is expanded, (2) an unhealthy dependency on the missionary will develop, and (3) the ministry will be the property of the missionary and never owned and embraced by the people.
Therefore, it is the goal of the missionary to work himself out of a job. So it is with the CLM representative.
Several months ago, something very significant took place at the highest level of CLM leadership. The founder and director of Christian Leadership Ministries, Stan Oakes, turned the ministry, his baby, over to Walter Bradley. A 25-year veteran staff member of Campus Crusade for Christ turned the ministry over to a professor. There are at least a dozen other incredibly capable Campus Crusade staff that could have been chosen, but this is a faculty ministry and a faculty member should lead it.
The same is true on your campus. The CLM rep is there to help get the ministry off the ground, but the local faculty need to be preparing to lead it themselves. I've heard the Space Shuttle burns up 80 percent of its fuel in the first two minutes. Obviously once it gets going it does not take as much effort to carry out the rest of its mission. Likewise, the CLM rep can help your ministry break the initial inertia of starting a new venture. But if the faculty ministry on your campus is going to fulfill its potential, the faculty must eventually take over the helm.
After all, as Dr. Bradley says, Christian professors are placed on their campus as part of God's marvelous design, not by accident. Each student that sits in his or her class is preordained to be there and will be eternally affected by interaction with the professor. Each Christian faculty member is placed in a department with many other faculty members, many of whom have never seriously considered the claims of Christ. Over the course of an academic career, a faculty member will spend 4555 hours a week for 30 to 40 years surrounded by people who need Christ. Every Christian faculty member is a steward of the ministry opportunities into which God has placed him. He can not sublease that stewardship to a CLM rep.
So, if you have a CLM rep on your campus, tell them your goal is to help them be unemployed. They'll be delighted.