In resuming the “Big Idea” series, it’s right and good to make a disclaimer at this point.
When we think about “building a campus mission” by contextualizing and strategizing, it’s easy to think only classic, developed, full-fledged college ministries can do this. But I believe any college ministry can take advantage of a missiological approach – whether we have 10 or 100 students, whether we’re able to support a few full-time staff members or no staff members at all, whether we’re long-lasting or brand-new.
Someone asked me recently what I think makes “a successful college ministry.”
While plenty of people who can answer that better than I can, I do have one thought. I told him that even though it’s simplistic, my best definition of college ministry success is doing the best we can with what we’ve got.
That sounds awfully vague and a little weak, to be honest. But if we really think about that definition, it might be more helpful than we initially think…
- First, it implies that there truly is a best for our particular ministry. There is a brilliance God wants to provide us, and we should be constantly seeking His best and working toward it. I believe treating college ministry as missions helps in that pursuit.
- Second, that definition treats the limitations of our individual situations realistically. The phrase “with what we’ve got” takes fully into account any lack in finances, support, leaders, location, skill, facilities, or students. It also takes into account all the difficulties of our particular mission field.
- Third, this definition also pushes us to make use of the advantages of our individual situations (again, whether those are finances, support, leaders, etc.) – and requires that we marshal those assets efficiently and effectively.
So if we think missiological college ministry is only for the “big boys,” we should reconsider. In many cases, a group’s college ministry may only be a small part of the larger Christian mission to the campus – and that may be all it needs to be! As long as every group is truly doing the best it can with what its got, then it’s playing its unique, God-provided role in reaching the campus tribes.