Author Info: Blane has served on staff at AU Chi Alpha for several years and became the Director in the Fall of 2014. This New Mexico native is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama but has fallen in love with the big city. He and his wife (Hannah) moved to DC to complete the DC Chi Alpha CMIT Program under Mike & Jen Godzwa. They are parents to a pretty amazing toddler, Jeremiah. You'll find him biking around DC in search of a coffee by day and pouring over a book by night. You can find him at www.blaneyoung.com, and connect with him via our AU Chi Alpha Staff Page.
The running joke at American University for several years went as follows:
Student A: Wait, you speak four languages fluently?
Student B: Yep.
Student A: How are you ever going to get the job you want?
Student B: I know, there are at least three people in my classes that are fluent in six languages. And they’ve declared double-majors already.
Student A: (sigh)
Student B: (sigh)
This is also personal for me. During my first year serving Chi Alpha at American University, I was part of the CMIT Training Program, and I was asked to lead a Small Group. It ended up being pretty small and mostly filled with freshmen that I met during Welcome Weeks. Well, here’s a summary: one of the young men owned an international film company, another interned for Wolf Blitzer, another ran an international NGO promoting disability awareness and lastly, one was working at the White House.
Let’s just say that the idea that ‘we have the chance to influence the influencers’ became very real, very quickly.
At first, I didn’t know what I had to offer. Like, I guess I could give them marriage advice but none of them were interested in dating. I was always taught to find a need and fill it, to find a hurt and heal it (to borrow language from Matthew Barnett and the Dream Center Movement).
Yet, for a few weeks, I believed that these guys didn’t have any needs. They were on their way to successful careers, were attending an elite university, had more financial resources that I did as a student (or as I did at that moment, as a first-year Chi Alpha Intern!).
But then I realized, with the help of a few mentors, that everyone is looking for something. Everyone is both hungry and hurting. The language and framework of Ignatian Spirituality gave words to this that I didn’t realize I needed. The concept of our sins and mistakes being ‘disordered attachments’ reminded me of the beautiful idea of imago dei (that we are made in the image of God).
I also realized that, as Craig Groeschel says, “Everyone is fighting something.”
So, although my ministry to these guys (which was likely awkward at times) didn’t look like provided for physical needs (as it had in my previous context) but instead, building relationships and looking for the soft or fuzzy needs. They are just as real, yet harder to define.
To Be Heard.
To Be Known.
I didn’t do this perfectly (and at times, I still struggle) but I think that in order to reach those who are materially fulfilled or successful, we have to dig deeper and have a much clearer missiological set of goals.
So, how do you reach brilliant students? Just like you reach anyone, with love.
It’s just that love, the approach we take, must be different. We must be all things to all people (within the context of the cross, of course).
Not everyone needs a bag of groceries, although some do.
Not everyone needs a friend, although most might.
But everyone needs something and by the grace of God, He wants to use you and I to be the answer to their prayers, even if their prayers have never been said aloud. Or even thought of as prayers.
May we see people as Jesus does and realize that we are already equipped to meet needs and to make a difference. One at a time. Slowly, at times painfully. But realizing that God is so big and majestic, no one has a need that He is unwilling to care for and meet.
Published on July 22, 2016 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/29PdXKE