A silo is a structure for storing bulk materials. Oftentimes they’re used in agriculture to store grain, but they can also be used for storage of coal, cement, carbon black, wood chips and sawdust.
Silos are separated. They protect their holdings from outside weather and scavengers. Like silos used in agriculture, there are silos of a different kind on and around college campuses. According to Kelton Hinton, associational missionary with the Johnston Baptist Association, we absolutely must embrace these “silos” of people.
Silos build community
Hinton prayed over the Johnston Community College campus for six months before attempting to start any sort of ministry there. He theorized that there wouldn’t be a lot of community on campus, but discovered he was wrong.
What he found was that people simply enjoy hanging out together. The students work together, eat together, commiserate about job prospects and celebrate dreams being actualized. They “do life” together.
Hinton noticed that while there is great community, it’s confined to “silos” — for instance, degree programs or areas of study can constitute a silo. The nurses hang out with the nurses. The welders hang out with the welders. The computer programmers hang out and write code together. Community happens naturally in these silos of people.
The only thing that is needed is a missionary to a specific silo of people. Could that be you?
Reaching the silos
What if your church set out to start a ministry with a bunch of math majors, education majors, future police officers, artists or drama students?
What if you sent actual missionaries from your church into separate silos that are unreached with the gospel to make disciples? What if your church stood and prayed over the missionaries, sending them out like missionaries headed to another country?
We must admit that it’s okay to let people hang out with their friends, rather than trying to force them into the culture of our church setting. The only thing that is needed is a missionary willing to reach a specific silo of people. Could that be you? Could your church or your college ministry send missionaries into silos around a college campus?
Be careful not to see these groups as walled-off, exclusive groups or cliques of college students. Instead, see them as rich and deeply connected communities with natural potential for gospel impact. The potential for kingdom expansion is limitless.
For more information, please contact the Collegiate Partnerships team. We would love to help your church embrace silos in the community around you.