I asked this question a while ago in a blogpost, and I think now I will try and answer that as best as I can. Hopefully the Dave Matthews i'm listening to can help me out. :-)
As many people that go to Taylor have realized, not everyone that goes to TU is a practicing christian. Some people go to church or read their Bibles every once in a while, but it isn't enough to constitute a strong relationship with Jesus. There are even some people on campus that are in opposition to christianity. A good example of this lack of spiritual concern on campus can be seen in chapel attendance. I know that chapel can be boring, and I know that sometimes I don't want to go or haven't gone, but there have been times where 5 guys from my floor have been at chapel. My floor is made up of 80 people.
Another example is the growing problem with drinking on our campus (this was brought up by students). Now both chapel attendance and drinking are slippery slopes to use as examples, but they both have some of their roots in a much larger problem: spiritual apathy. It is this spiritual apathy that is a major cause in things like breaking school rules or cheating on schoolwork (another problem brought up by the student body). Now being realistic, I know that you will always have people that will break rules and cheat. Taylor isn't the garden of eden, and its not ever going to be. I'm pretty sure that the garden had more hills and less corn. :-)
So, as a student that wants to try and combat this wave of spiritual apathy that is growing through campus, what can I do? How can God use me to stop the spread of disinterest in Him? My first thought was to make sure that rules were more enforced in my dorm. Being an RA, I could do this effectively. If rules were more strict, people would not want to skip chapel or break rules because of the consequences.
That isn't my place though. Yes, I must enforce rules, but that isn't going to change hearts. Its the relationships that I have with my peers that really change me. Its when I see someone else cares for me that I can then be open in the relationship. Its when I see the passion that someone has for something when I can also be passionate about it. I can't tell you how much I really hate watching sports, but when there is a really intense basketball game on and everyone is on the edge of their seats around the TV, I have to watch. I feed off of other's passion.
A great example of someone who is passionate about life is Tyler Kessler, or as he was more lovingly known as T.K. He just recently graduated from Taylor, but while he was on campus he lived on my floor (Penthouse W00t W00t). Throughout the entire time that I've attended TU, I've seen people drawn to him because of the general excitement and life he approaches everything with, whether it be relationships or a ministry. Because of that, I saw other amazing men come underneath his wing and become involved in the floor and in great ministries because of him.
Now enters the next question: How can we take people that are passionate (like T.K.) about Christ and christianity and combat the spiritual apathy on campus?
There is a multitude of ways that this question can be answered. In no way is the idea of a church the only way. I talked to Rachel Sawyer last night and she had the great suggestion of reshaping Vespers (a sunday night bible study). Justin Heth suggested that this idea be implemented at an already existing church. Many more have said something about just creating another organization or group on campus that can act out passionately. All of these are great ideas! My first thought was a real church on campus, and here's why.
I've been reading the book unChristian by Dave Kinnaman. The book is all about what the newest generation (our generation) thinks about christianity. Some of the things people said about christians is that we're judgmental (I felt great about wanting to be harder about rules) old fashioned, boring, and sheltered. Sadly, I have to partially agree with these observations by non christians. We can be all these things! This applies to Taylor more and more as the amount of non christians on campus grows. So where have these non christians gotten these views of the judgmental, old fashioned, and boring christians? More than likely, Church. Church is the initial place where a non christian interacts with a christian.
Honestly, I haven't really found a strong church home at Taylor. It probably is mostly my fault for not getting directly involved, but I don't really feel a strong communal connection with any of the churches that I have been to in the surrounding area of Taylor. The churches do seemed old fashioned to me in a sense, and I have been bored in church (not just at Taylor). Now I'm not saying that a Taylor based church should constantly keep someone entertained or occupied, but there is a huge opportunity reshape the way people think about church. So now it comes to it, the real purpose.
I think the purpose of a church on Taylor's campus would be to combat the spiritual apathy on campus by reshaping people's minds about Christianity, the Church, and Christ. This would be done through the people in the community that the church is in: Taylor. The topics at the church can be the things that Taylor students are actually concerned about, and what the Bible has to say about those topics. All in all, it would be to get people excited and on fire once again for a life in christ by showing them there is life in the church. To show that the church can change, that it isn't judgmental, and that it is concerned about the things of today.
Now obviously there are many questions that follow this. What does a student church look like? What about other's in the community? How would it be operated? What would draw someone back after you talk about the thing they care about? How would this be funded? Who would lead it? There are 1,000's of questions that can be asked and they must be asked. I'm sorry to the people that I've talked to and I've not been able to answer some of these. I felt like I had to have an answer whenever I talked to someone about this idea. Since then, I've realized that if God wants this to happen, it will. I don't have to have an answer for everything or everyone, because my trust is in God.
This is the way that I see things, and I would love to hear how you see it.
Thanks so much for listening to me rant! I hope to see responses to this soon. :-)