All week, I’ve been posting quick ideas for the upcoming months, the “dark half” of the school year. It’s a time when things aren’t necessarily wildly different, but there’s a difference just the same.
So here’s a question as you ponder your activities in the weeks ahead, followed by today’s spring-specific idea.
Will you be a better college minister during the next school year than you are now?
…which leads to today’s Spring Idea: Purposefully participate in some form of “continuing education.”
It’s a really sad fact that we, as college ministers, aren’t widely known as learners. I don’t think that’s wise or even right – the importance of what we’re doing, the direction to listen to “many counselors,” and the field in which we serve all plead with us to grow in our calling.
Of course, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably one of the college ministers who does purposely learn more about our field. I applaud you and encourage you to encourage your brethren to be learners.
And I encourage all of us – me included – to “excel still more.”
Some ways you could do that this semester or quarter:
1. Find a seminary class
If there’s a nearby seminary, it’s possible they have a college ministry course this semester or summer. But it’s likely that a local seminary or the very campus you serve has SEVERAL courses that could build your skills in college ministry, even if “Campus Ministry” isn’t in the title.
Could you sit in? Or even attend for credit? Besides checking stuff out for this semester, May-Term classes can be phenomenal for college ministers.
For a list of seminaries and grad schools I’ve discovered that at least seem to offer college ministry courses on occasion, click here. But for ideas on other classes (both spiritual and secular) that can benefit us for our work, start here.
The same idea I discussed in #1 fits here, too: While there are few college ministry books (and even fewer to recommend), there are lots of books that connect to our field in helpful ways.
The trick is to read books through college ministry lenses. It’s important that we not forget our calling… If you and I are called to college ministry, then much of God’s work on us will be meant to grow us as college ministers. (More on making use of that idea can be found here.)
(I’m working on a project that may help us along these lines… Stay tuned…)
I do encourage you, as well, to check out blogs – perhaps the only place where some new college ministry thought seems to be churning. To see a recent list of the college ministry blogs I tune into, click here. (And if you know of some that should be on that list, let us know in the comments!)
I am, as you probably know, a fan of collaboration. There is no better way to quickly strengthen your abilities than by sitting down with another (different-from-you) college minister. Ask them real questions about methods and philosophy and purposes. Find out where you differ… and then be willing to struggle on your own with the tensions and questions that arise in your own mind.
It doesn’t make any sense for us not to avail ourselves of the counsel of other college ministers.