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Tyler Helfers, CRC Campus Minister at Iowa State posted a link to Byron Borger’s annotated list of books he would recommend for Christian students heading off to university. You can find that list here.

There are others, of course, that could easily be added to the list. I'd add Al Wolters’ “Creation Regained”, “Faith & Wisdom in Science” by Tom McLeish, George Marsden’s “The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship”, and “The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness” by Opitz and Melleby, to name just a few. Oh, and don’t forget Jamie Smith’s recent “You Are What You Love”.

One thing that many of these books have in a common is the recognition that they are being read by students. The young adults who we are commending these books to are heading off to university to study and learn. Any campus ministry, whether campus or church-based, needs to take this fact seriously. Our mentoring and discipleship programs, and our opportunities for service and experiential (or missional) learning, should be based on this reality. Our ministries should not be structured as an antidote to what they are learning on campus, but as a means of engaging fully with these academic and vocational pursuits. Campus ministry is not about keeping young adults in our congregations, but about equipping and sending them fully into their academic pursuits.

So why not pick up a few of these books, give them to students you know, or even read them yourself and then get together and talk about them? 

Have you read any of these books and if so, which might you recommend? Are there any that I missed? 


I would add a good set of favorite blogs. Subscribe in your inbox, follow on social media, whatever is going to keep it in your attention. My three top recommendations for campus ministry-minded folks:

ThinkChristian ( - think pieces on all things culture-related. Movie reviews, social commentary, etc. 

The Twelve ( - daily blog with a rotation of twelve writers. Sometimes devotional in nature, sometimes responding to current events, sometimes taking a look at an overlooked chapter of history. Has often been a way of introducing me to something I would otherwise not have known about.

inAllThings ( A new blog run out of Dordt College, addresses a range of topics from the Reformed perspective.


Blogs like these three can be a great way to start thinking about a topic or to be able to pass something along to students.

I like every one of these books you suggest, Mark.  But we've got to keep our eyes open for a female's perspective on these things.  Don't any Christian women write books and blogs about faith and life at the university?


Great question, Virginia. I'd love to hear what others recommend.

A book I JUST heard about is called A Woman's Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World. I listened to a podcast interview with the author and it sounds like a very interesting book (drawing quite a bit from her own experience). Per the description, the book encourages all women to explore their calling (in a way that glorifies God) whether that be "caring for children, running a home, business, or working full-time." 

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