"Now ask the question: when intellectuals act as clerks and students act
as clients, how do college teachers differ from corporate accountants?"--Former Harvard Professor John H. Summers, from this article
You could easily substitute 'Campus Crusade Staff' for 'teachers' in the above sentence. Most college campuses have many Christian groups from which students can choose to participate. Chico State has at least 7, and I believe UCLA had around 25 last time I checked. Although the growing presence of Christian groups on campuses is great in some ways, I've noticed a growing trend toward students seeing themselves as clients rather than a members of Campus Crusade.
As students see themselves as clients, their commitment level diminishes, especially if the group decides to go in a different direction than they like. Rather than stay and take ownership of problems, I've noticed students simply move on to another group. For non-Christian student organizations this seems like a minor annoyance, but for a group like Campus Crusade who is committed to developing students in their relationship with Christ, this dynamic has a profound affect on our ability to move forward.
Also, as leaders of ministries (including myself) sense that we are being evaluated in terms of what we can offer, anxiety and insecurity rises and we can tend to cater to students' needs to the extent that we compromise our mission, vision, and values. Last year I even received an email from a student's mother asking why her son was not selected for a leadership position. It seems that not only are the student's perceiving Christian leaders as a 'spiritual accountant' but also parents.
This trend will only increase in the years to come. I wonder how both in my job and in Christian culture in general we will be able to live in ways that redeem this. From my perspective, it decreases ownership, leadership, commitment, trust in the follower and increases anxiety, performance, and people-pleasing in leaders.