health in college ministry = health for college ministry

As hard as I can, I work for the development of college ministries, regardless of their model. That means church-based ministries and denominational ministries and parachurch ministries and collegiate church plants and Christian colleges’ discipleship programs and offbeat models and combo models and anything else that’s out there.

But I don’t, particularly, have a dog in this fight. I’m not paid at present to do any one of those things.

But I believe you too should care about the development of and health of all college ministry – not just your own organization or even your own type of college ministry.

One big reason is, of course, because we’re supposed to all be passionate about students being impacted. Lots of students. Impacted well. But if you need another practical reason, here’s one I think about a lot (especially as I encourage churches – which so desperately need to do better here – to work out their College Student Plans).

Because we serve in college ministry, we are far more affected by other college ministries than, say, a church within a city might be affected by the other churches. Our systems are quite often pretty “closed,” so that bad college ministry situations (or good college ministry situations) always affect us, because they always affect the whole system – its students, its administration, its interactions, its connections. We fish in lakes, not oceans; we work established farms, not the wide open countryside. Pollution or vermin or other disruptions on one end of our mission field still keep us on the other end from fulfilling our role as well as we could.

Other groups aren’t pollution (or vermin), but their results can function a lot like that. The church college ministry across town that basically “fails” every two years… it affects the whole. So does the unbalanced ministry with the house next to yours. So does the national ministry that enters a campus that really doesn’t need it; because they weren’t wise enough to hold off, their unhealth and unwisdom hurts that campus – including all the ministries on it.

And in a happy way, the really healthy ministry that has been stickin’ it out for 25 years contributes to the whole, too. It’s good for us that they’re good.

So we should want America’s churches to really get this “college ministry” thing (even if we don’t personally serve in church-based ministries). We should want parachurch ministries to be really strong (which includes being really wise, of course). We should want that Christian college to be effective – in whatever ways that truly happens best. We should want national groups to have better communication and innovation and health among themselves.

And one reason for all this is because their health will mean our situations are healthier, too.


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