One of the most exciting programs over the last few years at RTS Charlotte is the Center for Campus Ministry (CCM). The CCM is designed to equip our students for the challenges that are unique to campus ministry–and there are many. The college campus is one of the most critical battle grounds in our world today, and we are pleased to play a role in sending well-trained men and women to labor there.
The CCM involves a specialized degree emphasis in campus ministry, as well as the CCM Fellowship (a community of folks headed to campus ministry), CCM events and lunches, and more. You can read more about it here.
While the CCM serves a number of different campus ministries, it is no surprise that Reformed University Fellowship has become one of our biggest constituencies. Many RTS Charlotte alumni have become RUF pastors or staff over the years, and we look forward to that trend continuing in the future.
For that reason, I am pleased that this installment of the Where Are They Now? alumni series is focused on Crawford Stevener, class of 2014 and RUF pastor at Duke University (and my former TA!). But, he has just taken a call as the new RUF pastor at Stanford University and will be moving there this Summer.
Crawford’s wife, Rachel, also received her degree at RTS (MABS) and I hope to include her in a future installment in the series.
1. What are you currently doing?
I am ordained in the PCA and serving as a campus minister at Duke University with Reformed University Fellowship (RUF).
2. Why did you originally come to RTS Charlotte?
We moved across the country to Charlotte in order to seek the best theological education we could find. My hope and prayer was that an M.Div. from RTS would prepare me for a lifetime of pastoral ministry. My wife also wanted to be equipped to serve the church in vocational ministry and received an M.A. in Biblical Studies.
3. Is there one thing that you learned at RTS that has come back to you as you have ministered to others? A phrase, encouragement or advice?
There is so much that comes to mind with this question. In sermon preparation, I often recall Bob Cara’s “hermeneutical proverbs” and Dr. Kelly’s urgent emphasis on preaching the word and the vital nature of prayer. Rod Mays’ advice to “say hard things out of a relationship” and to build a referral network of professional counselors has been incredibly helpful in pastoral counseling.
4. What do you enjoy most about your current ministry?
I have enjoyed the variety of pastoral ministry opportunities that ministering with RUF has afforded me. Immediately out of seminary, I had the opportunity to regularly engage in Biblical preaching, teaching, counseling, apologetics, and evangelism as well as be an active participant in my presbytery and the PCA’s General Assembly. I enjoy working with college students who tend to be honest about their unbelief and struggles and I love seeing their love for Christ grow as they understand God’s grace and truth in the Bible. I have loved seeing God at work as He expands His Kingdom. I’ve been blessed to be able to baptize infants and adults, officiate weddings, grieve with students in their loss, challenge them in their sin, and regularly celebrate the good news of the gospel with God’s beloved people.
5. What has been a struggle in your ministry?
I am glad I was regularly warned of this, but ministry is hard! Finding a work-life-family balance has been a challenge, but RUF has been a tremendous encouragement in this area. More philosophically, I have struggled to find the right balance in ministering the “whole counsel of God” when having limited time and exposure to people. This is pertinent in college ministry, but will likely be an ongoing issue given the transient nature of our society. What does this person sitting across the table from me or in the pew need to hear right now about who God is and what He is doing?
6. If you could give any encouragement to a current student in seminary, what would it be?
This is graduate school: take your studies and assigned reading seriously, ask lots of questions, and drink deeply from the wisdom and knowledge that surrounds you. Get to know professors and take advantage of extra opportunities like prayer meetings or seminars. I loved that RTS was academically rigorous. The relationships I made on campus with fellow students continue to be an ongoing source of blessing and encouragement to me in my ministry today. If married, include your spouse in your vision for ministry as you begin to pray and dream together about God’s calling for your family. Think about what it means for you to minister together. Start practicing hospitality. Do not go into pastoral ministry if you do not love being with people.