a little breadth broadens the whole batch

This summer, Matt Jensen of Mars Hill Seattle wrote a great blog post about some things that had come up in discussions with a few college ministers. These were brief topics, “sparks” as he called them, that caused him to think about various facets of his college ministry. A big list of ponderings, just from a few phone calls.

It’s amazing what a little breadth can do.

When I look at his list, I see many of the variations that have popped up in my own conversations with ministers. It’s amazing how much variation there is within the inner workings of college ministries. And what’s more astonishing (and quite sad) is that most of us haven’t been exposed to the many tweaks that could be made to their present ministries.

It’s one thing to look at all the options and choose; it’s another thing to have no idea about all the options for our ministry structures.

Matt’s list is pretty lengthy, and I encourage you to take a look. But here are some good examples:

  • Serving the city as the front face of the church.
  • Student led, staff owned vs. Staff led, student owned, mixture
  • Adult led college groups vs. student led groups
  • Freshman group that meets together one night a week as a big group.
  • Weekly Service as Rallying point
  • Trying not pigeon hole groups as just Bible study
  • Mentoring: Life long commitment vs. 3 month rotation with some being life-long
  • Local and global mission.
  • Strategically aligning the small groups on certain teaching pieces.
  • Reinvent or re-org every season for growth and as new leaders rise and transition out.
  • Sunday Night Service of young adults can be a front door to College Ministry
  • Full Time Paid Staff
  • Core Student Leadership Team
  • Students have different leadership roles.
  • Let students speak into literally everything we do.

Some of those possibilities were probably really obvious to you, because you’ve seen them in action (or use them yourself). Others could be things you’ve never have considered. But here’s the kicker: Whether you’ve heard of these things or not, very few of the items on Matt’s list are actually rare in the world of college ministry. What a shame that we aren’t exposed to more!

That’s one of the big reasons I encourage all of us to collaborate. You’d be surprised how engaging with even one or two other campus ministers – especially if they’re outside your own circles – can open up whole worlds of possibilities. (Props to Matt for doing just that.) Even if you end up changing very little about your ministry, you’ll be much more knowledgeable about your options.

It’s amazing what a little breadth can do.

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