leaving room to see (the fridea)

Is your college ministry already so planned – or will it be over the next weeks – that it will be nearly impossible to react to new opportunities in the new school year?

There have been – as there always are – many outstanding suggestions thrown around at the campus ministry conference I’m at this week. (We’re leaving today to head back to Dallas.) But a couple of ideas have come up that lead me to today’s College Ministry Fridea.

  • The first came from a college minister who responded to the opportunity of numerous Nepalese students coming to campus. She commented that  (for some reason) the opportunity might not persist, but for the moment, they’ve chosen to minister.
  • The same college minister (I think) noted that she and her husband had also noticed that a local Christian camp drew lots of collegians to counsel youth during the summers. But very little disciplemaking seemed to be taking place. So their ministry has taken on these college students each summer.

Both of these are examples of taking advantage of opportunities that arise. And here’s the scary truth: Your campus will very likely present new opportunities in the first weeks of the school year.

So we have to ask ourselves some scary questions. And we have to examine this week’s Fridea seriously: Leave room (mentally, verbally, even structurally) for addressing new opportunities that arise after the year starts.

Opportunity may come very subtly: An article in the school newspaper. A rule change that seems small but creates an opportunity. A freshman class that is particularly… something. A “theme” God seems to be stirring on campus that would be easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it.

It may come very un-subtly: A tragedy. Surprising changes within another college ministry. New campus leaders that dramatically affect things.

It may happen within your ministry: A student who returns having had an absolutely life-changing summer. Students with ideas you hadn’t considered (and that they hadn’t thought to Facebook you back in July). Multiple guys and gals who God’s been speaking to in similar ways. Way more students showing interest than you expected.

Is our ministry already SO defined, SO planned, and – especially – SO certain that we won’t see the opportunities that arise in the First Weeks?

The pic was taken at (over?) Washington State during my yearlong road trip.

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