looking through college ministry lenses

This is one of two articles I’m including in our program at this week’s College Ministers Cohort during the Catalyst Conference. It’s a revamp of a blog post from about a year ago, and it’s something great for all of us to think about!

To stay connected with the joys of Catalyst (and the Cohort) this week, tune in to the blog or – for even more – keep an eye on my Twitter feed.

The widely-recognized lack of college ministry training resources doesn’t let us off the hook when it comes to advancing our understanding of our calling. We can still learn from plenty of sources, if we choose to.

For as long as I’m a college minister, I hope I’ll always work to apply great ideas and great training to my work as a college minister. It’s not enough simply to learn great “general ministry” thoughts that are cool to blog about but don’t affect my day-to-day work.

I want to challenge all of us… to a little more one-track-mindedness. When you attend a ministry conference, consider analyzing its value for your present work. When you read a book, why not read it with college-ministry-colored glasses? When you have extra time, don’t just read “cool Christian blogs,” but look for blogs and articles and other sources that might be applied—however tangentially—to college ministry. This won’t always feel natural and certainly isn’t always easy. But it keeps each of us from being “a jack of all trades, and master of none.”

Very often
we dabble in every area in which we have an interest

rather than
especially focusing on the area that already has our investment.

And more importantly, it’s the area to which we are called.

A while back, a Campus Crusade friend described how he had learned some college ministry principles… from a church-planting conference. In that same conversation, I described a major college ministry brainstorming tool I gained from Seth Godin’s secular book, Free Prize Inside. And I’ll never forget how one church-based college minister described using the ads and articles in ESPN Magazine to find design ideas.

If you follow my blog, you know I’ve found college ministry principles in Jimmy Fallon’s show, the musical Wicked, the teaching at the Catalyst Conference and other non-college ministry conferences, secular and Christian books, and on and on.

Certainly, God has other things to teach us that apply to other parts of our lives. But if our vocation—our calling—is college ministry, it’s very possible that God wants to teach us lots more about our field. Even when He ships that wisdom in odd-looking packages.


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