consider well the summer

I was thinking about a college minister buddy who’s new to his ministry, and considering what I might tell him at this juncture. And what came to mind was a simple idea – but it’s something I’d urge all of us as the summertime arrives.

Really weigh all you need to do this summer; don’t just “run your plays.”

Summer is actually one of those moments when college ministries most diverge. Some of us participate in some sort of Summer Project, investing a lot of time and energy in a very specific role. Others have nearly complete “downtime,” at least regarding anything they’re truly required to do. For many, it’s heavy support-raising season. Church-based college ministers may see the advent of what’s nearly another college ministry altogether, made up mostly of home-grown students. For a few college ministers, summertime probably doesn’t look all that different than the school year, except for perhaps a few additional sand volleyball games.

But whatever you’re doing, can I encourage you to spend time wrestling with the opportunity before you? …to not just “run the script” – whatever your ministry’s “script” happens to be?

What if this summer is supposed to involve something – or someones – that it wouldn’t usually involve? Or what if there are planned events that really aren’t the best choice this time around?

I can’t suggest what you should or shouldn’t be up to, except for one thing: I think you should spend serious thought and prayer about this summer, even if your calendar is already set. God’s able to place plans-within-plans if needed! And what He may do is provide one or two things – even little, easy things – that would make a big difference.


To help you ponder, here are some areas that come to mind:

  • Helping your usual students while they’re away
  • Serving your usual students who stay local
  • Serving students who aren’t usually in your ministry, whether they happen to be local or even have just come home for the summer
  • Taking a personal sabbatical
  • Exegeting or re-exegeting your campus context, getting to know its history and its present
  • Reading
  • Canceling a traditional activity that isn’t purposeful (anymore)
  • Getting an outsider to take a look at your ministry and ask good questions (of course, I’m willing to help)
  • Attending summer opportunities for college ministry training (ask me – I know several)
  • Fully, painfully evaluating / auditing your campus ministry
  • Support-raising (even if that’s not your usual M.O.)
  • Developing partnerships with local churches and other Christian ministries
  • One-on-one disciplemaking
  • Finding a mentor / discipler for yourself
  • Meeting / better connecting with other local college ministers
  • Visiting college ministers / college ministries in another location (ask me – I can give you ideas)
  • Taking a trip with students (even a Mad Libs eBay Road Trip, if that fits some purposes)
  • Reading college ministry blogs
  • Blogging about college ministry
  • Refurbishing your web page, support letters, Facebook fan page, meeting room, business cards, advertisements, and anything else

Other ideas?


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  1. brianbarela23

    great list buddy.

    if you are using a facebook fan page or group page i would suggest posting some content on the wall that facilitates community and keeps people at least moderately aware that you still exist and are thinking of them :)

    a couple things i’ve done at various points:

    –video testimony week: ask students to shoot quick videos of how they are doing, prayer requests, praises, etc

    –photo contest: upload favorite pic from the summer, end of week can have a winner based on number of “likes” or comments on that photo

    –comb youtube for short-encouraging videos’s fan page is great at building engagement in these kinds of ways–and jeff widman, a solid believer, admins that fan page, which is cool!

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