Because yesterday’s spot was used to announce my newest college ministry road trip, the weekly College Ministry Fridea had to be bumped yet again to Saturday. But it’s still a Fridea, because “Saturdea” sounds weird.
And maybe this week’s delay is providential, because today is, as you know, August First. That date strikes fear in just about any college minister who works at a semester-based campus. Most of us are frantically looking for ways to prepare for the new school year and, as much as we can, “hit the ground running” the first week of school.
So here’s a question: have you thought about not only preparing your ministry and yourself for the new school year, but also your returning students? That’s this week’s Fridea:
Prepare returning students now for the new year of your college ministry.
What if you spent a day or two sowing seeds that would bear a harvest during those first weeks, providing a head start on the spiritual climate, ministry excitement, and/or preparedness of your students. While we may not know our freshmen yet, we certainly have 3 or 4 years’ worth of students who are (hopefully) returning to our ministries. Why not do something now that will prepare them for those first weeks?
The truth is, I can’t get really detailed with this Fridea, since how you’re going to accomplish that will be (should be) specific to your ministry goals and plans. But for the sake of examples, here are some made-up ones:
- Carl plans to teach through Romans in the upcoming semester, so this week he urges the college ministry’s returning students to read through that book – twice – before school starts. “Facebook me with any big questions that come up while you’re reading,” he writes, “so I can answer some of those in the series.”
- Endeavor Campus Ministry plans to make a big push for freshmen during the first two weeks of school. So the staff asks returning students to think specifically about what role each can play in helping freshmen try out Endeavor. “Will you be a Recruiter, a Guide, a Testifier, a Carpooler, an Advertiser, or something else?” they ask in the message.
- First Assembly Gulletsville’s college ministry has a leadership team of about 10 students. Sensing the tension his leaders have been facing between their spiritual lives and their “regular” lives, the college minister sends each a copy of Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley, to read now and discuss the first week of school. (Shameless plug: If your students need to realize their role as missionaries to their own campuses, Reaching the Campus Tribes could be a good – and free – option!)
- Sarah recognizes that her college ministry’s success this year will hinge largely on whether the Seniors choose to “step up.” So she sends each of them a handwritten note exhorting them to that effect.
- It’s been a particularly fruitful summer of planning and “visioneering” for the staff of the Campus Ministries at Solmesa Lutheran University. So they send every returning student at the university a “mission and vision” flier, with an encouragement to pray about their involvement in Campus Ministries this year.
- Down the street, Solmesa Community Church sends an e-newsletter “catching students up” on the summer activities and the pastor’s summer sermon series (complete with .mp3 links). They also detail the three “big events” on the college ministry calendar and encourage students to start planning for them now.
- The leaders of the Eagles for Christ chapter encourage returning students to spend two weeks of prayer and fasting (from food or otherwise), asking God to prepare their hearts and hands for whatever He has planned for the ministry.