University of Minnesota

In case you haven't met Matt...

It’s hard to get to know every staff member in Campus Outreach. Students, families, and supporters are usually closely tied to one staff member – or a few at the most. So every couple of weeks, I’m going to feature one staff member or staff couple. This week, the world gets to meet a staffer at the U of M. So students, supporters, family and friends, here he is – Matt Reagan.

Q: What is your role in Campus Outreach?

A: I’m the Campus Director at the U of M.

Ministering Out of a Fallen Nature

A modern-day Nostradamus(read: naive student at the U of M) recently prognosticated that our ministry would die out in two years because our student leaders lacked real commitment to the vision and prioritized poorly. I politely and directly disagreed with him.

Beginning of year cookout at the U of M!

This last Monday was the day before classes started at the U. All of the students had been moved in and freshmen orientation was over. So all the students were free to hangout, meet new people and get ready for classes. Each Labor Day we organize an ultimate frisbee game, and then host a cookout outside of the house I live in. Students involved in our ministry invite those they have met in their dorms, and some they helped move-in a few days before. This year there were many students that played frisbee, and even more that came to our cookout. Over the whole night we estimated that around 150 students had come to the cookout.

The Denial of Death

I sat down on the gym floor next to a U of M freshman after a game of pickup basketball the other day and struck up a conversation. We had met on the court a couple weeks before and had briefly conversed. This time, after broaching a few standard topics, I asked about his church background. I learned that he had never really attended church, so I thought what logically followed would be to ask what he believed and how he knew to believe those things. We arrived at the fact that he was "a pretty easygoing guy" and "didn't really think about it." I was a little incredulous. How was that an option? With the exception of taxes, I was sure that he knew death to be the only certainty in life.

An Occasion For Repentance

We are studying the Bible with students constantly. That practice is the foundation of our ministry to them, and, in turn, their ability to "self-feed" from the Bible will be foundational in their post-college lives. It is paramount, then, that they don't derail themselves from God's primary purposes for them in the study of His word. Or, to put it another, way, it is imperative that they know how to handle His imperatives.

What is our aim with college students?

The time frame from ages 18 to 22 is highly formative. It is a season when young people face their existential questions, develop convictions and responsibility for their lives(and the lives of others), and often find the one they will marry. In short, it is a transition to adulthood. This is one of the primary reasons that we find the college campus to be so strategic in ministry. But when I step back and examine our aim with them, I am leery of becoming a self-help program, a mentoring ministry that produces stable and productive individuals in our society who know how to work a job with integrity and lead a family with vision.

Frustrating Barrier of Self-Consciousness

The fundamental aim of our ministry on the campus is to open our mouths and speak the good news about Jesus, and to do so in a loving, winsome, relatable way. It seems fairly simple, doesn't it? Just be yourself and talk about the Person you love the most. Piece of cake! But we all know this is far easier said than done. The way we draw it up on the clipboard doesn't quite translate to the field.

The Importance of Trajectory

In Romans 12:2, the apostle Paul exhorts us not to be conformed to “the pattern of this world”(NASB). This is a commonly known and recited verse, but the subtlety of that pattern has seen many thousands of Christians walk according to it while assuming that their lives were comprehensively Christ-centered. Many of us have committed ourselves to being kind where others would be cruel, to be upright in our business dealings where others would cheat, or to mention the glory of God on the sports field where others would only mention themselves.

Subscribe to University of Minnesota