Yesterday, I discussed my belief that recruiting students to your college ministry is discipleship. It doesn’t only set us up for discipleship or invite students into discipleship, it’s discipleship all by itself.
Of course, just like any form of discipleship, our effectiveness in recruitment-discipleship can vary widely. Making sure we are discipling students in the best ways we can… that’s the goal, right? So that’s the goal from the very beginning, even as we recruit students to our ministries in the first place. Whether or not those students end up in my ministry, I have a window of discipleship with them – maybe 30 seconds, maybe a few minutes, maybe longer. Why shouldn’t I use that unto maximum impact?
After watching college students (including myself) get recruited to college ministries for 11 years now, I humbly submit some ideas for helping recruitment be as impactful as we can. Nobody can cram every possible idea into every student interaction, but this may give us some ideas and methods from which to draw.
Help students desire spiritual involvement
One way to disciple college students in a “recruitment scenario” is simply to push them toward involvement in something spiritual. So immediately we find that disciplemaking-recruitment requires us to be Kingdom-minded rather than just focused on our own ministries.
Helping a student desire to be involved in something that will truly impact them – even if it’s not your ministry – is a disciplemaking win. We have a window in which to encourage “community cultivation of the spiritual life,” whether or not that desire translates into involvement this semester or later during their college career. So instead of just recruiting them to our ministry, we recruit them to ministry involvement in general.
Teach them, don’t just tug them
It’s easy for our recruitment to be heavy on the sis-boom-bah of promoting our ministries and be quite light on teaching. What can we teach?
- Why spiritual community matters
- Why they need to be mentored and trained
- How their campus involvement should look (don’t be involved in too many things, be willing to commit, help others connect, jump into true community, etc.)
- Why they may not be ready to be up-front leaders just yet
- Why “coolness,” first impressions, and other weak indicators shouldn’t drive their decision of campus involvement (including college ministry involvement)
- How to balance / find a rhythm for education, spiritual life, work, family, campus involvement, etc.
I’m sure there are plenty of other things freshmen and others we meet really need to hear. As you can see, some of these are specific to the recruitment process, and others are just opportunities we have because we meet them.
We have a window, even if it’s really small. We should look for every opportunity we can to disciple however we can.
More ideas tomorrow. [Here they are.]
Written from Motel 6, Little Rock, AR
Road Trip #12 update (Day 10)
Yesterday’s T-shirt: the Purple Aces of University of Evansville
The growing list of explorations from this road trip can be seen here.