Teaching pigs to sing

“Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.”

This post is actually not about pigs or voice lessons but about the wisdom of trying to do things that seem unlikely to succeed.  Why should we be concerned with college campus ministry when there are so many other areas where our Christian outreach efforts might be more visibly effective and successful?  Some would say from the start that what we are attempting–building an active Episcopal presence on campus–is an exercise in futility: 

College kids are too busy (i.e. having too much fun) for church, right?” 

You might get some to come but they are just showing up for a free meal, you know?”

Don’t worry—kids drift away from the church in college but they’ll be back in a few years when they start getting married and raising kids of their own.”

Obviously, I disagree.

I do think many college students are incredibly busy—sometimes working strange weekend shifts that make regular Sunday morning church attendance impossible. 
(Dropping in as a visitor for an occasional service has its own problems.  In general, how welcoming are we to the college student who does show up as a visitor on a typical Sunday morning?)

I think students will show up for a meal, but many traditional church goers do the same!  Why do you think churches plan so many activities around the traditional potluck supper?

As for drifting away and wandering back—well, perhaps.  Some do. Many others will drift away to find other churches more interested in involving their generational dynamic.  Others will just drift, and maybe for a long time.

The bottom line is that we take care of people in our lives that matter and college students should matter to those in the household of God.  The Millennials (20-30 year olds) in our midst are part of our church family and campus ministry is one way to keep our relationship with them alive and well.

St Dunstan’s, which is the Episcopal Church at Auburn University, perhaps says it best in the following from their campus ministry newsletter:

The Episcopal Church needs to see campus ministry and young adult ministry as the most important evangelism and mission area there is. It is where our culture is the most dynamic, most committed, most culturally diverse.”


There’s more ahead. Thanks for reading!

3 Comments on “Teaching pigs to sing

  1. As we are always one generation away from losing our freedom, so also we are always a generation away from losing those who must continue to spread the GOOD News of Christ’s salvation for all of us. The academic world is not a pro Christianity environment which makes Campus Ministries even more necessary.

  2. Good title. It pulled me in to read. And good points, well made.

    • Thank you! This is definitely a new experience and interesting challenge for me. A bit like performing without a net, I suspect. A good reminder to measure one’s words carefully and think about how they might be read by others. Thanks for reading! (Will need to write some posts about liturgy at some point, eh?)

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