My house is in serious need of renovations. The kitchen tiles are all coming up, the toilets barely work, and don’t get me started on the pests.
I have been in campus ministry for twelve years, and more often than not, our students’ faith is a lot like my house. There are big issues they’re dealing with. Foundational problems that wreak havoc on their lives. Pest problems galore.
Renovations need to happen, but that requires gutting of some of the beliefs that already exist. We have a term for this, and it’s become one that carries a lot of dread in Christian circles: faith deconstruction.
Faith deconstruction is not a new thing. InterVarsity and other campus ministries have been helping young people deconstruct their faith for decades. What’s different about the present circumstances is that students lack the ability to reconstruct. Renovations are messy. It messes up your whole living situation. It’s a massive investment, both in your finances and time. As much as we’d like to renovate with as little disruption as possible, it never happens that way. It turns your life upside down.
One of the hardest parts of renovation is finding people you can trust to design and rebuild. This is so true for our students: deconstructing their faith is scary and challenging. It comes with grief and pain and mess. As campus ministers, we are the carpenters, electricians, and plumbers that rebuild faith. It’s our job to make sure everything is up to code.That all the personnel needed show up. That we build something that is better than before, that increases the value and quality of life for each person.
We always start at the same place: Jesus. Renovate their understanding of who he is, what he did, what he stands for. We as the church have done a poor job representing him. If we can start there, we can build something that’s livable for life.
There are just too few of us to do this for all the students that need our help. We need more reconstructionists. We need folks to help rebuild faith in young people. Is that person you? Would you take a moment to pray about how you can help build solid foundations of faith for young people? We are always taking new volunteers and staff to join us in this important work.
Campus Staff Director – Greater Toronto Area