Just an idea.
Instead of using a college minister to (re)start a church college ministry, what if we began with a College Ministry Strategist?
He or she (or even a team of people) spends the time needed to get to know the mission field. To get to know its students. To get to know the community. To get to know the church, too. Lots of interviews, lunches, visits to other ministries, studying, and prayer.
If there are students presently coming to the church, they are welcomed and ministered to with purpose and passion. But the focus won’t be on recruiting (recruit to what?) or even building the ministry (since the blueprint isn’t in place yet). The focus, for now, will be seeking wisdom, even if that leads us to a whole new model of college ministry.
And that includes a lot of time on our knees: What is God’s brilliant plan for this church in this place at this time?
All options are on the table, including the traditional church college ministry route. But there are plenty of other ways churches can impact students; I saw several this year, and I bet there are lots we haven’t thought of yet!
In the end, the resulting plan becomes the church’s very own Mission to the Campus.
The College Ministry Strategist is kind of like an Interim – only before there’s a ministry. By discovering the church’s particular niche, he gets to blueprint a mission that could impact local students for decades to come.
Isn’t this method a lot like how we start new international missions efforts?
[Some additional thoughts on the College Ministry Strategist can be found here.]