weekly review, bonus week edition

Since the Thanksgiving weekend precluded last week’s review of online college ministry conversations, this week brings us to A DOUBLE BONUS BONANZA.

Or something like that.

Whatever the case, there’s a lot to share and hopefully at least a few things you’ll find to be helpful reading. So I’m gonna hold off on another post ’til Monday. And I’m going to get right to it!

Defining success in college ministry. The ridiculously exciting discussion about the vital topic of defining success continues in several corners of the collegiate ministry blogosphere! The newest topical posts (and GREAT comments from others) at Heart of Campus Ministry can be found right here (on measuring success by the future, from Jim Musser) and here (on an evaluation tool Tim Hawkins calls “missional mapping”). Meanwhile, Joe Blanchard took Tim’s challenge and missionally mapped his campus ministry at NC State. And Chris Bean posted a really cool reflection on the need for a better-than-usual evaluation of success.

Looking back a little further, you can still check out Heart of Campus Ministry’s original post on the topic by Dean Thune. Aaron Klinefelter chimed in with an “ecological” definition of college ministry success. I posted on why aiming for numbers isn’t a good defition. And Ian Clark looked at the same question.

Support-raising, questions, and concerns. The other amazing discussion that has received broad attention concerns questions I asked and one major concern Steve Lutz raised about the common models of personal support raising prevalent withing college ministry. Steve’s post on “The Hidden Costs of Support Raising” garnered twenty comments (and counting), and my couple of posts (here and here) attracted several remarks, too. (Interestingly enough, the discussions kind of bridge between the two blogs.)

Whether you raise your own support or not, please take a look at both of our blogs if you can – this is a huge opportunity to learn (or think anew) about how we’re funded in our vital task.

The next generation (and the one we work with, too). What will the upcoming generation be like? Tim Elmore recently broached the subject with a fascinating article. While it’s not available in the archives yet, you should be able to see the email version here. But perhaps even more importantly for us at the moment, he also offers a downloadable “Crash Course in Understanding Generation Y.” (You can sign up for Tim’s monthly leadership article here.)

On students’ minds as Christmas approaches. The VP of Marketing at ChaCha, Susan Marshall, writes about some really interesting, on-the-fly research her company has done regarding the state of mind of teens, students, and young adults as the Holidays draw near. Hat tip to Keith Davy for this.

On raising up thinking students (and getting interviewed by CNBC, too!). After what sounds like some cool interactions with the Secular Student Alliance at Boise State, Bill Westfall offers some reflections on those kinds of campus interactions and raising up thinking students. (Bonus: Bill and his ministry were recently highlighted on CNBC, since he and his wife are hunting for bargains this Christmas season – it’s a neat 2 minutes if you get a chance to watch!)

Organizational structure: the Brian Barela collection. As usual, Brian has produced several provocative posts in the past couple of weeks. And he’s been particularly focusing on one of his favorite topics: Organizational Structure within the world of college ministry. (Brian serves with Campus Crusade, but these discussions can certainly be applied to any individual or collective college ministry.) Since there are several interesting posts, I’ll just point you to his blog, The Necessary Things.

Social media: the Matt McComas collection. Matt McComas likewise has offered a flurry of interesting posts of late, largely focusing on the use of Facebook and other social media withing college ministry. Oh, and there’s a cool list of Campus Crusade staffers who blog about ministry philosophy or spiritual leadership. Here’s Matt’s blog: Leadership, Technology, Innovation.

Ideas for the end and translating Christmas. Here at Exploring College Ministry, I’ve gotten excellent reaction to my 11 ideas for maximizing the last days of this semester / quarter and a couple of posts on “Translating Christmas” for our students here and here. Plus, I recapped the enormous Road Trip 13 this week, too.

Books about community (for communities). Book guru (and superhero for college ministry) Byron Borger gives a humongous, annotated list of books about building intentional Christian community. Maybe a good read for developing your ministry, or maybe a good read for small groups in your ministry!

Big questions for college students. While the posts are written primarily for students, Joe Blanchard‘s recent three-part series provides three key questions (here, here, and here) to help students connect with God’s plan for their lives.

And lots more. Sam Rainer posts about the qualities young adults want to see in those who lead them (which obviously will be similar for college students), Bob Fuhs encourages us to infuse play into our upcoming planning meetings, Jerry Beavers raises an important question – who’s talking about college ministry theology? (and lists a few newer college ministry books), Mike Filicicchia suggests great celebrations as a great apologetic (and gives examples of doing it), and Keith Davy presents a very intriguing post urging us to beware “bait-and-switch” methods as we evangelize.


  1. Fantastic summary Benson. Thanks for keeping the rest of us in the loop on what’s happening out there!

    And for those of you who tweet, the #umin hashtag has been gaining some momentum in the last week, linking to everything from a job posting, to an NPR piece on sexual assaults on campus, to an Onion video on college guys “getting stoked.” Check it out!

  2. thanks for the encouraging write-up benson.

    i thought out of all the posts you mentioned Steve’s post on support raising was the most engaging. i love posts that bring in a wide array of perspectives and different ministries.

    another thought i had was that these sort of summaries or hot conversations are PERFECT topics for seminars/conferences because they are generated by the users (i.e. those on the field).

    hopefully those in areas of oversight are paying attention to your blog.

  3. Thanks, guys! And thanks for having consistently great stuff to read.

    As for the hashtag, Steve, thanks for the thoughts on that and including me in the discussion last week! I can’t use that one because it’s not inclusive. But I hope it’s been helpful.

    I’m not sold on “topical hashtags” anyway (rather than temporary, current event tags); I figure people who follow me on Twitter might want to hear about college ministry stuff. I do understand why they can be helpful (if people are diligent about their searching), but that’s a pretty precious 6 characters, or 8 characters for the one I’d probably use if I had to.

    Just my two cents!

  4. Pingback: one model for defining campus ministry success « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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