It can feel weird to “recruit” to a college ministry. It feels like competition; it feels like marketing; it feels so secular.
The truth is, recruitment is marketing, and most of the time it is (friendly) competition. But I think that’s okay.
And in a very real way, this kind of “recruiting,” though it can help from a “marketing” standpoint, is also very much a ministry to students…
…in at least three different ways:
- One major goal of recruitment is drawing some students to a ministry instead of to nothing. In some cases, a student will connect with your ministry instead of heading on a different path entirely.
- As we recruit, we’re also getting college students to think about finding spiritual opportunities in the midst of college. By advocating a particular ministry, we’re also advocating the very idea of plugging in to college ministry at all. This applies to all present college students, of course, but it can be really fruitful for future students (like I discussed yesterday). Sadly, many high school seniors aren’t hearing about collegiate spiritual opportunities from those who should be telling them (parents, teachers, youth pastors, pastor pastors, etc.). As we recruit, we’re counseling them for their upcoming college years, whether those freshmen end up attending our particular ministry (or even come to our particular college).
- Lastly, recruitment plays a role in future assimilation, too. Which ministry is a student going to be most excited about committing to? The ministry they found by “default” because they happened to be someplace at some time? Or the ministry that made contact, that recruited, that got excited about them? Friendly, warm, loving recruitment at some “activities fair” may be many students’ best first memory of your ministry.