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 don’t know about you, but for me, one of the most difficult aspects of being a Christian in the secular university has always been to keep my focus, to maintain a clear vision of what I believe God has called me to be and do. There is so much pressure from the job: pressure to be a good classroom teacher, pressure to conduct cutting-edge research and to publish, pressure to be involved in service activities. Add to that the demands of family life and church activity and possibly some involvement in the community, and it is enough to swamp the most well-organized and disciplined individual. And if that were not enough, there aren’t often too many people around you in the university who have a similar sense of calling, who are seeking to have an impact for Christ on the campus. Most of your colleagues are probably very intent on their careers. Many of them are not believers and most who are believers have never seriously considered Christ’s command to be His witness in the university. Given this environment, maintaining a sense of perspective and a clear vision is difficult. As the faculty ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, Christian Leadership Ministries can help you in a couple of important ways in this regard.
This is why I am such a fan of the various conferences that Christian Leadership Ministries sponsors both regionally and nationally. I mentioned earlier how Walter and Ann Bradley and Peggy and I met together every summer for several years at Campus Crusade for Christ’s summer staff training conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. Since about 1982, Christian Leadership Ministries has hosted the National Faculty Leadership Conference -- a week-long training time for Christian professors and academic staff -- every other year in conjunction with Campus Crusade for Christ’s staff training. These times have been for me like a routine battery charge. We have often driven or flown into Colorado much like a battered dog with his tail between his legs -- worn out from the pressure of the job and tired from the challenge of trying to live Christianly in the secular university. How those conferences have restored my vision and revitalized my enthusiasm for what the Lord has charged me to accomplish and to be for Him! Just being with other academics who have the same calling and who are facing the same challenges; hearing the inspirational speakers and uplifting music; and stepping away from the job for a few days to assess and re-evaluate things and to re-focus my direction has been the difference between persevering and falling by the wayside. By the end of the week, I am ready and raring to get back on campus, armed with new ideas and refreshed in my spirit -- with all the energy and enthusiasm of a young puppy.
I’m not surprised that many of my colleagues in academia burn out after a few years in action. The daily grind will do that to you. If you are a Christian professor or staff member, you need to take advantage of the regional and national conferences we host through Christian Leadership Ministries. Carve out the time; set aside the funds. Take your spouse; take your children. Some of the happiest times we had as a family when our children were growing up were summers with Campus Crusade for Christ. We still talk about the time we drove to Cuernavaca, Mexico, for summer training. What an experience! In fact, my daughter, Jennifer, called Peggy just a week or so ago and told her that she has recently been reflecting about how rich her life has been and of the wonderful memories she has of traveling around with us (mostly on Christian Leadership Ministries/Campus Crusade for Christ related trips). If you have not been participating in these regional and national vision and training opportunities, you are really missing out; come join us. I’ll be there!
Like the U.S. Marines, Christian Leadership is looking for a few good men and women. We will never have enough full time staff to get the job done. There are more than 3,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. and the leadership of Campus Crusade for Christ has targeted 2,000 major universities internationally. There needs to be a Christian faculty/staff effort on every one of these campuses. Guess how many staff we currently have in Christian Leadership Ministries? Would you believe 100? A hundred staff to reach 3,000 campuses here and 2,000 abroad! No way! It isn’t going to happen. Unless we find men and women who will join us and take responsibility for their own part of the harvest field -- for their own university or college campus. We literally need to see hundreds of men and women who will step out and say, "I will be the point man or woman on my campus. I will trust God to raise up a faculty/staff ministry here. I’m your man. I’m your woman. I don’t know exactly what will emerge or how it will happen, but I will assume responsibility to be the catalyst to see God do it."
We are challenging men and women with this mindset to become Christian Leadership Ministries Faculty Affiliates. And I don’t know of a better way to maintain perspective and to keep a clear vision before you than to join Christian Leadership Ministries as a Faculty Affiliate. As an Affiliate, we in Christian Leadership Ministries will come alongside you and help you to "see your campus through God’s eyes" -- to envision how the Lord might use you and your colleagues to have an impact for Him there. We will provide you with the training and the resources necessary to build a movement of committed Christian professors and staff on your campus. And we will give you opportunities to interact with other Faculty Affiliates and Christian Leadership Ministries staff in a variety of venues as we undertake to impact the university and the culture for the cause of Christ. One of the things that has attracted me and caused me to continue with Christian Leadership Ministries is the knowledge that I am investing my life in a magnificent cause. Can you imagine anything more challenging or rewarding than to impact all of higher education for the Master? Now that is something worth committing one’s life to -- why don’t you join us!
When Walter and I came on board with the faculty ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ in the late 1960s and early 1970s, things were a whole lot different than today. The application process was the same as for full-time Campus Crusade for Christ staff. We were required to attend the same three weeks of "New Staff" training that all Campus Crusade for Christ staff must complete, which included memorizing the Four Spiritual Laws and God’s Plan for Your Life. We were expected to devote at least 10 percent of our time on the job to ministry activities -- which translated into about four to five hours per week of ministry, a pretty tough thing when you are trying to succeed in a demanding career. We were even supposed to fill out and turn in a weekly staff report detailing our activities. I don’t think either Walter or I were very faithful to some of these requirements, which might explain why things are different now. We have carefully thought through the Faculty Affiliates program and structured it so that the emphasis is not on how much we can get out of you, but on how much Christian Leadership Ministries can support you as you go about your professional activities in the university and as you seek to represent Christ there as well. You may obtain additional information on the Faculty Affiliates program by contacting the Dallas office.
© Copyright 1997, Joseph McRae Mellichamp
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