Campus ministry's success at evangelism may be its undoing

Posted: June 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm

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ST. CHARLES Kerry Cox was raised to reach the unchurched on college campuses.

In fact, he's so good at it, his efforts have engulfed Lindenwood University in a dispute that includes allegations of cult activity, two resignations and a broader debate about the proper bounds of evangelizing on campus.

The son of a pastor, Cox grew up sharing his father's fiery zeal to mine the faithful amid the indulgences and parties of youth.

He watched his father, the Rev. Robert Cox, launch a successful campus ministry at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville two decades ago. The son would later take over that ministry while enrolled as an SIUE student, sending hundreds of believers to his dad's Greater Alton Church.

So when the church was looking to expand its evangelization to Lindenwood, Kerry Cox was the perfect choice.

He enrolled as a student in 2004, quickly establishing a ministry called A Cross Between.

He and his new wife bought a house with a big living room to better host all of the college students who would be stopping by for small group worship services. It was the way he had grown up, with college kids coming and going at all hours from his parents' home.

"College is the time when people meet their mates," said Cox, 34. "It's when they meet the friends they'll have for the rest of their lives. People are at their most open-minded in college, and we can talk to them about these things they might not know about. It's just a good opportunity."

In the case of Lindenwood, that opportunity paid off beyond anyone's expectations.

A Cross Between accomplished its goal of sending worshippers to Robert Cox's new congregation, the Crossings Church in Wentzville. It claimed as many as 125 students, and its influence on campus grew, with several staff members becoming active in the group.

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Campus ministry's success at evangelism may be its undoing

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June 3rd, 2012 at 7:12 pm

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