I recently heard a pastor relay an observation a lady made about his church. When she visited on a weekday, she noticed that there was a flurry of activity, even in the middle of the week. “There’s life here,” she apparently recognized, and it impressed her in contrast with her own church – where the event of the Sunday services seemed to be the Only Event, or at least the Main Event.
When I heard that, it crossed my mind that this is one pretty interesting way to assess our college ministries. It’s not a right-or-wrong axis, for sure, and each of us would probably differ about its importance. But it’s worth considering: How much does my college ministry “thrive” outside of our main college ministry calendar?
College ministry members – who weren’t buddies before – stopping to talk to each other on campus. A random flow of students into the college minister’s house. Ministry members hosting parties outside of the “official” ones. Spontaneous disciplemaking pairs. Service projects you (as college minister) didn’t even know were happening. Ministry members signing up for class together. “Matchmaking” between members of the college ministry. Road trips you didn’t plan. People giving each other rides. Students coming to you with ideas for the ministry forged over late night coffees with other students. Rides to church together. Rides home together. Conversions, from relationships built over time in your students’ classes, study groups, and fraternities.
Those are just some ways this might “look” in a college ministry, but it all boils down to your ministry experiencing community – whether planned or fully “organic” – outside of the times planned by the leadership. The opposite would be a college ministry that really only “exists” when it’s officially “in session.” I think there are bunches of those, and they’re probably quite often impactful and encouraging and campus-reaching. But it’s worth considering the “midweekness” of our campus ministries, too, and wondering if this might be an area we’d like to see strengthened.