Editor's Note: Kerry Cox is the Campus Minister for The Crossings Church in the St. Louis area and is a board member of Campus Ministry United. This article is republished with his permission from his website College Ministry: Making Students His Students.
As I child I remember hearing so much about this “movement” and I was not quite sure what to expect going into the ICMC. I knew I would hear the word disciple often, but to be honest, that bothers me little since it is used nearly 250 times in the New Testament. I also knew that there would be a strong focus on evangelism, accountability, and zeal. Again, I took no issue due to the fact that these are very biblical terms, concepts, and practices.As I walked around I was excited to see approximately 3,000 students and campus ministers; there was a brotherly spirit and passionate buzz in the air that was very contagious. I found myself smiling with childlike anticipation as to what they were so excited about. What I came to realize is that they were excited about the very things I love about campus ministry: God’s ability and desire to reach into the lives of every college student in the world.There were three things that struck me about this conference:
The honesty and vulnerability from each and every speaker. From even the ICOC’s admissions of the past I expected to hear much more about the successes and exploits of the ICOC. I found myself expecting to run into an arrogance and elitism that I simply never encountered. The ministers who spoke talked very openly about their struggles, weaknesses, and sin. They spoke of mistakes they had made, how they learned from those times and hoped to do better in the future. The speakers reminded me that leaders must never forget that we are just forgiven sinners who mess up daily…just like everyone else.
The focus on relationships also surprised me. Based upon confessions from many in the earlier days of the ICOC, too much emphasis was placed upon stats and numbers. Each class talked about the importance or relationship with God, his people, and those we are trying to reach with the Gospel. People were not being viewed as an assignment or a number in these lessons, they seemed to be viewed as Jesus viewed them, helpless and harrassed. I was encouraged by the amount of passionate conviction there was to make sure that people were not prizes to be won but souls that needed to be saved by God.
The warmth and general acceptance of having “outsiders” was also incredible. Nearly every person we spoke with shared with us how glad they were that we were in attendance. The men we talked with were grateful that bridges were being built and were interested in how they could build more. Many of them apologized for the past while being excited about the possibilities of working together to further the Kingdom in the future.
See more: Has a New Era Begun in the ICOC? | 2012 WDS: A Defining Moment for the International Churches of Christ | ICMC Videos and More on DTV