why i like veritas forum, based on not much

My interaction with Veritas Forum this week reminded me how much I like this ministry as a college ministry. In other words, I don’t just like Veritas because of what they do (bring great speakers to campuses, mostly), but I also believe they model strong college ministry practice that even local, “classic” college ministries can learn from.

Besides attending this week’s two-day forum at SMU and two one-night forums in California last year, I don’t have a lot to go on. However, I did make a brief connection with the Executive Director of Veritas, Dan Cho, following the Stanford forum last year. And it was actually a really informational 3-minute conversation!

Yet that lack of knowledge is why I hope someday I’ll get to sit down with the Veritas people at length (as I have with other ministries). It’s probably better to do that than to speculate today.

For now, however, I’ve seen enough to present several ways Veritas seems to shine as a college ministry. (If you’re unfamiliar with Veritas, I encourage you to start by reading yesterday’s post and even checking out their site. That will make the following far more meaningful.)

Niche-ness: Veritas clearly focuses on doing one thing, which allows it to tackle that area well.

If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you know that I’m a fan of thinking about niches – even within full-fledged, full-discipleship college ministries. There are areas and/or segments of campus any ministry could probably be really great in, if they were willing to go after that area “disproportionately.”

And for those thinking about starting a ministry (church-based, campus-based, student-led, or any other type), you should consider if your ministry needs to be yet another “full” college ministry. It might. But it might also serve the campus best by fitting one particular, needed niche.

Focused: Being good at truly fulfilling whatever our ministry happens to be requires saying No to lots of good ideas. In my little conversation with Mr. Cho, he related that Veritas is often asked to provide similar events in other locations, like churches. But at least to this point, Veritas has decided instead to be what it is – and that’s an organization that reaches college campuses through these forums.

Obviously, Veritas Forums held at churches or elsewhere would probably be wildly popular and potentially easier to organize. But that’s simply not what they do. And by saying No to that good option – and I’m sure others – Veritas has kept impacting right where it seeks to impact.

I hope you’re really good at saying No on behalf of your college ministry. I have found that it may be needed quite often. I myself have struggled with this, but I think I’m getting better.

More tomorrow… (It’s amazing how much can be drawn from not-much-information.)

One Comment

  1. Matt

    We are doing a Veritas at WKU in April so I thought I would add a couple to your list:

    – They REQUIRE that you get as many campus ministries & churches on board as possible. We have 17 different groups contributing to ours and it is going to be so much better as a result. The principles of Veritas have been great for our leaders & students to unify around.

    – The Veritas staff is very helpful. They are easy to work with and don’t seem to discriminate based on size of campus or prestige of university. They provide a connection to top-notch speakers and help you through the whole process.

    Needless to say, we are hoping to make Veritas an annual event at our campus.

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