Over several summers around the Sydney region, we decided to capitalise on the different pace of that season to gather staff and postgrads from around a given campus to discuss the Bible and Theology.
The idea took different forms over different summers and on different campuses. During a couple of summers, I decided to go on tour to help me connect with folks on campuses other than UNSW, so I prepared some studies on Mark, teed up a lunchtime with locals, and went to a different campus each day during the week to discuss a bit of the gospel. We set it up as a series of around 6 weeks, with a few weeks before Christmas and a few weeks after, depending on constraints at the local campus.
We also tried having a local series at UNSW. The format was similar, but the we ranged more widely in topics and I brought in other people to take the series. Mostly we stuck with books of the Bible, but, one year, for example, we covered a few chapters in a systematic theology text.
Features of Summer Bible Lectures:
1. gathers people into one group for the summer
2. gives Bible study group leaders a break
3. encourages networking around campus
4. helps with the fact that groups may dwindle over the summer anyway
5. exposes the group to other ‘voices’ through local pastors or theologians
6. connects the postgrad and academic ministry with the local churches
7. easy to find rooms on campus
8. with fewer different responsibilities over the summer, people who aren’t in Bible study groups during the year might well feel more able to turn up
1. growing amount of summer teaching
2. organising a speaker
3. advertising to the wider campus in order to pick up Christians who aren’t on existing mailing lists
Recognising the seasons of the academic year has proven a helpful framework for thinking about how to vary the program on campus and provide a wider range of activities, as well as getting, and staying, in touch with those who can’t fit into a weekly Bible study during semester. There’s one idea for seasonal campus ministry. Why not give it a try?