scratch where you niche (a fridea)

If you’re one of those people who pronounce “niche” like “neesh” rather than like “nitch,” then the already-not-particularly-clever pun in the title makes no sense at all. But the show must go on.

This Fridea came up completely as a result of two college ministers – Bob Wreidt and Guy Chmieleski – after they posted some great comments on Wednesday’s post. From different standpoints, they both asked about the same issue: How do we impact best, when our college ministry is actually made up of various audiences with varying needs? Seniors may need something different from Sophomores; Greek system students may have some needs Architecture majors don’t – and vice versa. And so on.

There are probably several good ways to tackle this issue indirectly, and that’s the normal route that might be best for many ministries. (I discussed that a little bit in those comments.)

However, Frideas are (usually) about considering something a little more offbeat. So that leads us to today’s Fridea:

Tailor impact to various niches within your campus ministry.

If you’re a regular reader, you know I get excited about reaching various niches on campus. But that usually deals with reaching those outside the college ministry.

What about the niches that exist inside your ministry? Sure, we want to promote intra-ministry community. But sometimes the needs, issues, roadblocks, strengths, and weaknesses of particular groups still could use a little “scratching.”

This doesn’t mean you need four (or twenty) separate college ministries. But have you ever considered tailoring any impact – a Bible study, a special event, a weekend retreat, small groups, a message – for a single niche?

The truth is, many college ministries already do something along these lines: the most popular niches for tailored impact are probably freshmen, men and women, and seniors as they prepare for graduation. (Of all those, that final one is an area lots of college ministries should be considering.) But what about other groups that might benefit from tailored impact?

Some ministries will discern a need to take this further than others. For example, UGA Wesley, one of the largest college ministries in the U.S., holds a separate weekly meeting for Freshmen, while Central Baptist Church at Texas A&M simply holds special small groups on campus for its freshmen. Another group might host a special freshman retreat, while another might hold monthly meetings just for freshmen, but only during the first semester.

I could spew out plenty of other examples using plenty of other niches, but there’s no need for that! You know your ministry, its niches, and their needs better than anybody. The encouragement is simply to consider the condition of your flocks – and ask if any of them could use some extra-special feed.


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