On May 5th 2005, the Christian Leadership Ministries (CLM) will celebrate its 25th year anniversary at a Dallas-area banquet.
CLM is the faculty ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ International and impacts Christian professors to help them provide the spiritual guidance students expect.
Three out of four college students say they are still searching for meaning and purpose in life according to a study released this month by UCLAs Higher Education Research Institute. More than half of the students in this ratio report that their professors never promote discussion on spiritual matters.
According to Principal Investigator, Dr. Alexander Astin, college students are clearly very interested in [the] larger questions in life, and many of them hope that the college experience will support them in their spiritual quest.
In addition, the rise in the number of cases involving religious and political bias at American universities have created an environment that leads many scholars and students to discourage development and expression of faith.
Professors, sources say, are instrumental to the spiritual development of their students and colleagues, as well as influencing the worldview of society.
A professor has "two tasks," according to Rich McGee, Director of Conferences and Events. "One is the personal task of reaching out in ways that are appropriate with students, and the other is the intellectual task of thinking through their disciplines from a Christian perspective."
The importance of professors is underscored by co-founder Bill Bright's statement.
If I could start Campus Crusade for Christ over again, I would begin with reaching professors.
At the banquet, CLM will highlight its future plans, including its goal of establishing "active groups" of Christian professors at 151 top research universities in the U.S within five years.
Field Director David Wiley believes CLM is primed for this position now.
He says, Having been a part of CLM virtually from the beginning, I can say that we are in a position of multiplied impact as a result of the foundation laid since our creation 25 years ago.
Over the past 25 years, CLM has built a community of scholars-in-training who research, teach and model academic integration. CLM also hosts major biennial conferences that fuse scholarship and ministry, produces evangelical think tanks on campuses around the world, sponsors 130 faculty outreach trips to 35 nations, and partners with national faculty ministries in England, Poland, and Taiwan.
Currently, CLM has 85 U.S. field staff members working with over 8,000 Christian professors at 1,100 universities - equipping them to outreach spiritually-seeking students and colleagues and helping them integrate faith into their teaching, research, and service.
Dr. Russell Carlson, Professor of Biochemistry at U. of Georgia says, The whole idea of CLM, which is to make professors better disciples of Jesus Christ in their universities, in their professions and in their research, is extremely important and essential.