The other day, I wrote 18 questions for strategizing a new (or expanding) college ministry. Those Qs were focused on the present mission field – the campus or campuses you’re hoping to reach.
Of course, missions choices don’t just hinge on the context. Also important is understanding the “sending organization.”
Who “sends” collegiate missionaries?
- In church-based college ministries, it’s the church.
- In campus-based college ministries, it’s usually the local, state, regional, and/or national ministry organization.
- In a Christian college, it’s usually the college itself.
For all three branches, other supporters (financial or otherwise) can be “senders,” as well, particularly if they have some input into the hopes or goals of the ministry.
“Senders” include anyone comissioning the ministry, and both their identity and their vision will affect the mission to the campus. As we start new ministries, understanding the group “sending” us matters a lot.
In all three branches, however, college ministries can start up without reflecting much on who’s sending them. But even though this is very common, I’m not sure it should be. At least at some level, it seems like the “sending organization” should be an integral part of the ultimate identity of the mission.
And if they are, then they can “own” the mission far longer than college students or the college minister will.
Written from Kansas City, Missouri