Yesterday, I blogged about the (obvious) need for special “start up” methods for college ministries. So here’s one of the first steps I would use / have used, with more to come this week.
In the first semester of a new (or renewed) college ministry, I’m going to make a focused effort to find out what (if anything) God seems to have already done in this situation. The kinds of things I’ll look at specifically are:
- The reason(s) we’re beginning. What – specifically – did God use to lead this ministry to start? How did He direct me / them / us in the beginning? How the call came might give us clues on proceeding. For instance, did He suddenly raise up several young adults who wanted to reach out to college students? Then until we hear differently, I’m going to treat those individuals as integral. Did God use a number of students from a particular campus to call us to this ministry? Then that campus will probably be where I focus first – even if there are other campuses closeby.
- Peculiar niches. As I get to know these students (as quickly as I can), is it clear God has brought us any particular “niche”? Are there several students from the Greek system? (Or actual Greek students?!) Are several musicians, or upperclassmen, or super-smart, or sheltered, or athletes? If a surprising number of these students appear drawn to this ministry, perhaps God has a focus in mind for us. The same thing goes for the volunteers/staff God calls alongside me – any particular callings, spiritual gifts, or talents? Not every college ministry has to be completely “balanced” – maybe God has a specific role for our ministry to play… right now or even forever.
- Recent works. In this mission field, what do we know God has been doing recently – among Christians and in the campus / community as a whole? While I may not know the answer to this question when I start, I’m going to trust God to use His people to “catch me up” on whatever I need to know. His work recently may connect with His work in the near future… and if He’s calling us now, then we’re a piece of the puzzle. Hooray!
The point is to establish – as much as possible – what God has already done. I’ve found He tends to work in a straight line, ALTHOUGH that line-ness is often hidden from us. So when He does show us what He’s already done, it might just be a clue for where to head next.
And that means a first step for college ministry is doing everything we can to find out what God hath wrought.