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
- 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