Monday I mentioned one axis on which to evaluate a college ministry, examining the midweek vital signs between the Big Activities that are our more traditional signposts.
Another eclectic evalution worth considering is how much students actually enjoy our large group meetings- as well as our small groups, special events, and other activities. For each of these, there’s the opportunity not only for the event to be good, but for it to be a good time.
Hopefully you have some core students who dutifully attend your college ministry events on a regular basis. They’ve cast their lots with you; they’re committed. Meanwhile, there may be plenty of students who consider your ministry generally to be “fun” or “cool” or whatever means “enjoyable” to them. But do they – and the less-involved students who show up, too – truly enjoy the individual activities they attend? Do they truly have a good time, right in the midst of all that good?
Of course, it’s more important that a campus ministry be good – valuable, impactful, purposefully discipling – than that it be a good time. And there are some campus ministry activities where it might make little sense to imagine “enjoyment” ever being a priority.
But I’m also pretty sure that most people reading this blog would be happy to know people enjoyed their time at this week’s large group meeting or in this week’s small group discussion.
So the question is, do they? And more importantly, what have you done purposely to increase students’ enjoyment of your ministry? Again, I’m not saying you should – this is an evaluation with lots of “right answers.” But it does seem that some attention to enjoyment makes sense.
This is part of hospitality.
This is part of being missional. What better way to be missional on a college campus than to provide a good time? (And that’s one reason why the large group meeting is more missional than some people like to think – because of course “big, fun gatherings” have special currency in the campus tribe.)
This may even be obedience, if you can believe it:
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. (Eccl. 9:7-8 ESV)
…especially when we note that verse 8 is talking about dressin’ up, party-style.
This is just one evaluation of many, and like Monday’s, where you put this on the priority list will differ from even other ministries on your campus. But it’s worth noting honestly where your ministry stands and – if necessary – doing something to change that.