Just a happy summer reminder:
You have the power to grow in your college ministry skills and broaden your college ministry understanding this summer.
All it takes is sitting down with other college ministers.
Don’t just ask them for methods, and especially don’t only ask them about the methods you’ve been thinking about for the past two weeks.
Go bigger. Go broader. Ask them about the history of their ministries, the present structure of their ministries. Ask them how students progress (or are supposed to progress) through their ministries. Ask them what purposes they’re aiming for.
Ask the best idea they’ve tried recently. Ask the best idea from the last year that didn’t work.
Ask if they’ve noticed any trends – in spiritual talk, in spiritual needs, in spiritual “fads,” in student issues, in campus issues.
Ask them how they’re impacting the campus as a whole. …and how they’re serving, evangelizing, having fun, building community, teaching, doing small groups. Ask them the books that have most impacted their ministry, the speakers that have most impacted their ministry, the conferences that have most impacted their ministry, the blogs that have most impacted their ministry, and the people that have most impacted the way they do ministry.
And if something interesting comes up, it’s okay to follow the story. Unique principles, odd structures, interesting histories – this is the stuff of a really fun interview.
Finally, don’t you dare only consider visiting those in your circle (denomination, national organization, loose network, etc.). The time for only intra-circle learning is past.
If trips (even mission trips or Student Projects or other “official duties”) take you elsewhere, make time to meet with college ministers on those trips. (Surely you – and even students with you – can spare a meal, can’t you?) Otherwise, ask local… or semi-local. A good 2-day road trip is room for a few meals and a few coffees and some substantial, perhaps even ministry-shifting conversations. Trust me. I’ve done the road trip thing a bit. In fact, if you need tips on planning a good trip, just ask me. (Or maybe I can blog about that.)
It’s likely you have the time, plus now you’re pondering next school year anyway, right? Are you really pleased with your application of the “many counselors” principle at this point in your ministry? The summer is the easy time to gather a few more.