nuggets: ministry within a ministry, over-the-top-ness

Over the past week, I’ve been offering “Leadership Nuggets” learned during my very first year of college ministry a decade ago.

Since most of us are enjoying crazy days at the beginning of the school year, I wanted to offer something QUICK each day that might also provide encouraging reminders as ministry is beginning once again. Further, I have hoped these things might be useful if you need something additional for your student leaders or other volunteers! Hope these ideas help! [See the whole series right here.]

And of course, if you have the time, I encourage you to chime in through the comments.

ministry springboarding to ministry

During my first year of college ministry, I learned to look for ministry opportunities within the ministry I already had.

While our ministry group had around 40 students on the rolls, I had the chance in the second semester to offer a more focused discipleship group for the guys (and my co-leader did the same with the girls, I think). Ultimately, I ended up in one-on-one discipleship with one guy – while still, of course, connecting with and ministering to the other students in our group.

At the time, I was just hoping to disciple somebody. It wouldn’t be until a few years later that I would understand that this can be an excellent method for college ministry: offering chances for some students to commit and learn in a bigger way. As the commitment level and intensity level increase, the numbers of students involved will naturally get smaller. But that means we have the opportunity for better impact, instead of just broad impact. It also means those students who desire to “excel still more” have the chance to do so.

We don’t quit ministering to the group as a whole, but we look for God-offered opportunities to springboard from the larger group into some more narrow ministry opportunities, as well.

The moral of the story? I began learning during my first year of college ministry to look for deeper ministry opportunities within my ministry opportunities!


Something else I learned that year is that it can be so worth it to go BIG in loving our students, making memories together, and just extremely enjoying the ministry God has provided.

Why not be creative? Why not be a little over-the-top? That year our group attended a demolition derby together, the guys dressed up and gave roses to all the girls for Valentine’s Day, we took big trips together, did cheesy crafts together, camped out on campus (or at least tried to), and much more all year long. Nothing was earth-shatteringly innovative, but we still had no problem filling up the back of a T-shirt with memories as the year came to a close.

Making room for the work of (purposeful) creativity is part of loving our college students, just like it’s part of loving our spouses and our kids (or so I hear). For college ministers and volunteer leaders alike, one of the best ways to liven up a ministry – and find yourself enjoying it more in the process – is simply to add a little over-the-top-ness!


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  1. Pingback: best-of-the-blog: training small group leaders « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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