enemies of longevity (or how to build a college ministry to crumble)

I promised two days ago to discuss some of the reasons college ministries don’t always last long. This is part of the discussion on longevity, which is part of the discussion of building your best campus mission, which is the last topic of the Ten Big Ideas series. Yikes. Lots of levels there.

So I’m noting a few of the things that seem to stymie longevity in college ministries. This is not the same as writing about what causes strong college ministries simply to fail – there are lots of reasons that can happen, and we could all brainstorm a pretty big list, I’m sure.

Instead, I wanna mention some of the inherent, systemic issues that could keep a college ministry from being “built to last” in the first place. In other words, here’s how I would “build to crumble” in college ministry.

  1. Keep the vision with the leader, not the “sending organization.” Obviously, a college minister or other leader will often be the initiator of the college ministry vision. But if it remains with him or her or their “inner circle,” then the vision leaves when the minister does. And ministers leave sometimes.
  2. Aim for speedy results. We can build a college ministry for quick numbers and quick reputation, or we can build to last. These are divergent paths. Sometimes God decides to provide the former while we aim for the latter, but aiming for the former could keep us from ever achieving the latter.
  3. In your list of things to do this semester, put strategy at the bottom. In the hustle-and-bustle of college ministry, we may never work on strategy if we wait for “free time.” And yet strategizing our mission to the campus is key to helping it last. We’ll work on strategy if we carve out time to work on strategy. (I recommend strategizing before building the college ministry at all, but that’s discussed in another post and another post.)
  4. Place no value on sharing your successes. I’ve written about college ministry and public relations before. It’s often a necessity for keeping college ministries supported and staffed. Read about that idea here.
  5. Have no core value of making aggressive progress. I’ll talk about this one soon, because it’s yet another key to building your best campus mission. [Read more on that here.]

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  1. Pingback: aiming for numbers, aiming for strength « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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