What college relationships have taught me about God

date College relationships can be very ridiculous. One of my favorites is when you see a couple get really close without actually dating. Then one or both of these people involved will drop the dumbest crap I have ever heard, and it happens a lot. "I just need to wait on this relationship for a while. I need to figure some stuff out right now. I need to work on my stuff and get my stuff right before I can get into a relationship right now." Absolutely ridiculous!

I love that someone wants to put off a good relationship because they do not want to bring their crap into a relationship. Newsflash! You are going to bring your crap into a relationship no matter what you do. I do not care if you work your crap out and then get into a relationship. There will always be crap in your life, and it will always follow you into your relationship. You cannot allow your crap to affect or taint your view of your relationship.

I may be married, but Tonya and I both have crap we bring into our relationship. Does that mean our marriage is horrible? Of course not! We have a beautiful marriage that continues to show me more and more of my crap I never knew about, and yet our love grows as I trust her in the revelation and healing process of mine and her crap.


How great an analogy is human relationships to the connection we have with God! How familiar are those situations to the relationship I have with Christ! I am still learning not to approach God like a college relationship. I will too often look at my relationship with God and get frustrated. I often look at my lacking quiet time. I look at how uncompassionate I am to the broken among me, and then I assume my relationship with Christ must be failing because of all this crap.

I cannot keep connecting all these factors to the "success or failure" of my relationship with Christ. I cannot look at my lacking church attendance or missing a week's tithe and saying, "My relationship with God sucks!" My relationship with Christ is still in pursuit, and all those things are not indicators of a failing relationship. I will always have crap. I will always have walls. I will always mess up on my disciplines. I will always have things I am not that great at doing, but I cannot assume that all these things make my relationship with Christ horrible.

It shows that I do not really trust God's grace and love. I bring all my crap, all my inconsistencies, all my past into relationship with God and trust in his grace and his love. Yes I do have crap! Yes I am inconsistent in my discipline. Yes I need to be more compassionate, but my relationship with God is enriched by my need and desire for Him.

Networks vs Neighborhoods: another way the Church is missing the young adult population

On many levels, the American Church is moving to the way of the "house church", and it has a great momentum to reach many people. We are seeing many Christians learn what it might look like to be followers of Christ as they love and serve their neighborhoods. We are seeing more and more large churches OF small groups instead of churches WITH small groups. The outreach of the church is now being put in the hands of the church as opposed to the church leaders alone. Smaller groups and house churches are turning their eyes and hearts toward their neighborhoods in order to learn what the incarnational gospel might yield in comparison to the attraction gospel that has been the primary model utilized by the American Church to this point.

While this excites me to see where the American Church is moving the gospel, I fear it STILL misses the mark in reaching a college and young adult population. The move into neighborhoods will certainly serve to reach a postmodern, post-Christian society and culture, but let's not forget that post modernity and post-Christianity is NOT a generation.

This means while college students and young adults most often fall into the postmodern, post-Christian mindset, to reach a demographic I love and my heart breaks for, there is yet another reality to be mindful of.

College students and most young adults don't really have neighborhoods they live in for long. This is a pretty transient period of life where they live in different homes from month to month. This is a time of life lived in semesters as opposed to years. The rest of life is lived outside the house elsewhere. Home is where the couch is!

The sense of neighborhood is lost on the college student and young adult. So a house church mentality works well if your population has a house or spends any significant time in the house they have.

Now again, I love the house church model, and I think the American Church needs to continue moving in that direction for sure, bu my question, as a college pastor, is how do you move this model for a demographic without neighborhoods?

The answer lies in what college students and young adults DO have. Networks!

Thought the idea of a neighborhood may be lost, there is a strong sense of network in this demographic. We still frequent different areas such as coffee shops, bars, campuses, and clubs. These places have become different networks each person is connected to.

When you frequent those places, you become 'a regular'. Once I became a regular at Tupelo Coffee House, I started to recognize the other regulars. Once I began to recognize the other regulars, I began to notice them outside the coffee shop in other networks I am connected to. I recently recognized a Tupelo barista when I was walking around the monthly art walk downtown.

The whole interest of our networks is watching them overlap. "I didn't know you came here to this coffee shop!"

In order to begin really reaching the college and young adult population, we need to move from the neighborhoods to the networks. House churches need to be in coffee shops and bars and clubs and various other networks.

In a generation that has not yet settled down into neighborhoods, you have to be a neighbor in their networks.

For Gods Sakes Interview

For those of you who missed it, I gave an interview on For God's Sakes Radio Show on January 1 about reaching a culture and generation that the Church has lost touch with.

Thanks to the people at Truthcasting, I now have a podcast channel you can not only hear the radio interview but there will also be much more material to come.

Check out the Ragamuffinpc Ministries podcast channel at

* The interview itself is entitled Reaching Where the Church Has Lost Touch

Pumpin' the wattage into your cottage

I was asked this morning to be on the radio this Thursday to speak about college and young adult ministry. It is a great opportunity to spread the word about a demographic the church knows less and less how to reach and particularly about what it does look like.

We have already briefly discussed the reality that this is a group that is rapidly giving up on church, faith, etc. That reality drives a lot of us who doing what we can to reach out to this group.

They have asked that I prepare about 15 questions they can ask of me.


If you are involved in college and young adult ministry: If you were were given this opportunity, what would you want to be sure you addressed? If you were given an open radio mic to speak about the ministry you love to and for college students and young adults, what would you want to broadcast to many people who do not know how to reach this 'people group' we love?

If you are NOT involved in college and young adult ministry: Do you ever read this blog or hear other things from me and wonder "What the heck is he doing anyway?" If you could ask a college pastor anything about reaching this 'postmodern', 'post-Christian', generation-X-Y-Z, etc., what would you want to ask? Do you just wonder what I actually do at the coffee shop every day? What questions do you have?

I will be on air this Thursday, so I need your questions as soon as possible. You can comment them here at Ragamuffin Ramblings.

You can email them to

You can tweet me your questions @ragamuffinpc

How to Park at CSUS

I am a college pastor in Sacramento, and a majority of my students attend Sacramento State. I have come to discover there is a list of things every college student complains about, regardless of which school they attend: tuition, the food, the rules, and parking.

Most college pastors spend a decent amount of time on campus to hang out with their students, and I like to do this from time to time...if it weren't for the horrific parking situation. Allow me to elaborate on my experience.

STEP ONE Park in the 30 minute parking spaces. There are a few precursory steps before actually parking, so you can park for free in 30 minute parking while you run these quick errands.

STEP TWO - ATM Parking is going to eventually cost me $6 for the day, and who really carries cash any more aside from your grandmother? So I will need to go to the ATM on campus to get out cash. Naturally, you are only allowed to get cash in increments of 20.

I know what you're thinking; "But you only need $6." Yeah, I get it! What's more, the parking machine only takes exact change. So unless I want to make a $14 donation to California State University Sacramento, I now need to break my 20 to get exact change.

STEP THREE - Coffee Shop As expected, I will be getting coffee eventually. It may as well be now. I have to order my medium americano from one of the 75 Java Cities on campus in order to get my coffee AND break my 20 so I can pay my $6 parking fee.

If you're counting at home, my visit to campus has costs me nearly $8 for the price of parking plus americano.

STEP FOUR - Parking Machine The parking machine is located on the 3rd floor of the parking garage. You round your way up the garage to park (at your risk) in the flow of inattentive traffic with your hazards on while you pay for your parking pass. Ignoring the honks and near collisions, you collect your pass and prepare for the parking spot search.

STEP FIVE - Parking Garage Can you imagine a place where you drive an eternal circle while dodging vehicles and pedestrians who pay no mind to your existence? This is the reality of the CSUS parking garage. I have have driven the endless circles for nearly an hour and a half at busy times looking for a spot that never opens.

I am generally uncomfortable with the often necessary "stalking" approach for parking. This is the discovery of a solitary student walking in a fashion which makes you wonder, "Is he on his way to his car?" You drive slowly behind him as he walks, hoping not to creep him out in any way. If he is a decent human being, he will notice you are drafting him and will motion to you that he is NOT in fact walking to his car. But if he is typical, he will let you follow him for several minutes to the stairs in the parking garage where he leaves to go to class. SON OF A....!!!

You await the break in class times when enough people are leaving to find that spot accompanied by gleams of light and cozy chorale music. Alas! I am parked!

My americano is not lukewarm, and I've spent nearly 2 hours preparing and looking for a spot, but the opportunity to hang out with my students on campus is worth every second.