What spiritual teaching should students get as we start / restart a college ministry?
It feels natural to teach students in one of two ways:
- Teach now in the same way you intend to teach later. Why not hit the ground running?
- Teach something now that will catch students’ attention and draw new students. Why not give them what they want?
However, I’m not particularly a fan of either strategy during the first semesters of a college ministry. I can’t get away from the feeling that when a college ministry begins, it needs a focus on building. It needs a trajectory, a short-term aim, a chance to get on its feet, a building of a foundation.
The teaching we provide should be an enormous part of that. (By “teaching,” I mean the entirety of spiritual discipleship the ministry offers our students in large groups, small groups, or one-on-one.)
So… when I’m praying about and thinking about what a new college ministry needs, these would be some of my big questions:
What has God been doing that He might want to continue? Are there any clear spiritual “themes” the group / campus / church / supporting ministry / community has been experiencing? Might some particular messages or studies help stoke that fire God started?
What are the immediate spiritual obstacles? Are there any clear errors that must be dealt with? While helping our students to maturity is a long-term pursuit, God may reveal immediate problems that should be dealt with ASAP.
What spiritual themes would prepare us for where God is taking this group? Once God reveals the ministry trajectory, I’ll look to echo and pursue those desires in our ministry’s teaching.
What “basics” does this group need to become great in? I’m generally a fan of “great in the basics” teaching for college students – and that emphasis is probably even more important when we’re laying the early foundation for a longstanding mission. I want to present truths that will (hopefully) characterize our ministry for years to come.