explore the edges of your year-to-come

Often when we “brainstorm” or otherwise get creative, it’s for the production of BIG NEW THINGS: A church ministry starting a midweek worship service. A campus-based college ministry recruiting freshmen with a week of special events. A Christian college bringing Francis Chan in for Spiritual Focus Week.

And BIG NEW THINGS are great.

But this week’s College Ministry Fridea fits our short calendar space because it really isn’t about that. It’s an encouragement to take a day… a meeting… or even an hour… to explore the edges of as many elements in your ministry as you can cover in that time. If you can, comb through each special event, every weekly activity, every administrative task, each bit of ministry promotion, every relationship with a supporter or overseer. And look prayerfully for ways to make a few of those things that much better.

Not BIG NEW. Just that much better.

I do indeed recognize that for those serving semester-system colleges, you’ve got 2 or 3 weeks to go. Max. We don’t have time for revamping anything. But the limited time might just help us do what we can do: pour our efforts into fine-tuning. It’s a chance to make fixes “in-140-characters-or-less,” exploring the edges and setting ourselves up for a year that’s that much better.

I’ve discussed exploring the edges before, and I encourage you to take a look at that idea here if you can. But “exploring the edges” is often about producing adjustments that make present elements stronger, not only making BIG NEW THINGS. So as you put your entire ministry under this microscope, you might end up:

  • Stepping up your booth at New Student Orientation with better photos and descriptions
  • Setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to update your web page weekly
  • Adding a student testimony to your midweek worship service
  • Eating lunch on campus every Tuesday
  • Moving announcements to the end of your weekly gathering
  • Getting rid of the extra element that just duplicates what you’re doing anyway
  • Repainting the sign outside your building
  • Connecting the worship songs with the teaching in your large group meeting
  • Adding three minutes of silent prayer to the front of your small group time
  • Deciding to use a guest teacher once a month
  • Delegating that one thing to that one student
  • Spending one hour training returning students on helping freshmen feel welcome

Golly – that hardly took any time to think through. Some of those tweaks are “bigger” than others – but with the specifics of your own ministry, you’re bound to find even smaller elements that are worth adjusting, too.

As you pray and think through every element of your ministry – really, when’s the last time you did that? – you might find some powerful tweaks that you really can make just in time for the best school year ever.

For all the Frideas, including several that apply to the beginning of the school year, see this post for a synopsis of each of ‘em.

Written from Motel 6, Brentwood, TN

Road Trip #12 update (Day 7)
Yesterday’s T-shirt: the Eagle tribe of Eastern Michigan University
New states yesterday: Kentucky, Tennessee
Mileage so far: 931

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  1. Pingback: 10 quick reads on evaluating your ministry « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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