PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. – The Asilomar Conference Grounds were the site of the February 16-18 Council for Christian Colleges & Universities conference for campus ministry directors. Located on California’s Monterey Peninsula and surrounded by Asilomar State Beach, the setting provided the perfect spot for those working in campus ministry positions to gather for three days of connection and conversation on the issues that shape, challenge, and inform their work with college students.
To complement the content offered during plenary sessions, the conference emphasized opportunities for participants to build personal connections and professional relationships, share insights and support in the common task of helping students grow in their faith, and converse among affinity groups regarding such roles as worship leading, chapel calendar building, facilitating mission and service trips, and coordinating small group and discipleship ministries.
During the conference, Randy Heckert, university chaplain at Malone University in Canton, Ohio, was awarded the Dana Walling Award for Excellence in Campus Ministry. The award was established by the CCCU in 2003 to honor Dana Walling, former vice president for spiritual development at Point Loma Nazarene University and former member of the CCCU’s Commission for Campus Ministry Directors. Walling died of cancer in 2000. In his honor, the Commission chooses a campus pastor each year who models consistent, thoughtful, biblical campus pastoral work.
The plenary speaker for the conference was Gary Moon, executive director of the Martin Institute for Christianity and Culture and the Dallas Willard Center for Christian Spiritual Formation at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif. He also serves as the executive director of the Renovaré International Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation and as editor-in-chief of the Conversations Journal. He is a licensed psychologist in Georgia and Virginia and conducts research concerning the theoretical and practical integration of psychology and theology. He has published and presented over 100 professional and popular papers.
His three plenary addresses covered such topics as a new vision for Christian spiritual formation, examining disconcerting trends in the church with an eye toward hope and toward finding a new vision for God and the Kingdom; intentionality and appropriate means for Christian spiritual formation, including deeply examining the differences between discipleship and apprenticeship; and meditation on Andrei Rublev’s 15th century Icon of the Trinity.
"I continue to learn from persons at these conferences: from the speaker, Gary Moon, whose very manner and spirit moved me, to the conversations I have with other conferees, whose listening and feedback help me work through the issues I face back home," said Todd Pickett, dean of spiritual development at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif.
"This year's conference was perfect for my team,” said Matt Benson, vice president for spiritual formation at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn. “The networking and development along each of their lines of responsibility as well as the participation with an entire group of persons dedicated to soul work within our CCCU family was deeply renewing. We can't wait until next year!"
About the CCCU: The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 185 intentionally Christ-centered institutions around the world. The 116 member campuses in North America are all fully-accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. In addition, 69 affiliate campuses from 25 countries are part of the CCCU. The Council’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help its institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit www.cccu.org.