panel-discipling and decisions (this week’s fridea)

A brand new college minister who’s now serving in the ministry I volunteer with had an idea: As Fraternity Rush season descends on SMU’s campus, why not hold an intentional forum to help students work through that decision? Kaity’s testimony involves the sorority world (before and after she came to Christ), and the Greek system is certainly a big deal at our campus tribe.

Her original idea eventually turned into a student-led panel discussion, and our ministry’s holding it next week before the usual large group meeting. Members of our ministry who have been involved in that Greek scene will be ready to talk about that decision, that life, the opportunities, and the concerns.

I love this idea for a few reasons:

  • It highlights the fact that these sorts of decisions are very important. Most students have no idea how much entering a fraternity, joining the ROTC, switching majors, or studying abroad will actually affect their lives. And sadly, they’re probably hearing a lot more “Rah rah you should do this” from present participants (or even parents) than they’re hearing “Let’s talk about pros, cons, realistic expectations, past experiences of others, and biblical wisdom.”
  • A “decision forum” doesn’t just give the students the straight dope about how these decisions will affect them, it allows for them to see the theological nature of these decisions. All decisions are spiritual, but sadly our students don’t realize that. This gives us the chance to let them see it – with a topic they’re probably highly interested in already.
  • Obviously, picking something that’s a “campus hot topic” (like Sorority Rush) may draw an audience that doesn’t normally connect with your college ministry.
  • …and it could also be a chance to bring multiple campus ministries together.
  • Panel discussions are disciplemaking with a BONUS of wisdom-from-many-counselors. Could we be more biblical?!

This method can apply to all sorts of decisions: A panel of juniors and seniors discussing how our class choices affect learning and ministry opportunities. Alumni sharing how to choose (and when not to choose) a summer internship. Alumni discussing a successful transition out to the Real World. Sophomores sharing how they chose a major – and why it matters. Students helping fellow-students process the uber-important how-to-spend-my-summer decision. Even Christian students helping pre-freshmen process decisions about what to be involved in before classes start.

But of course, there may not be a better opportunity – if you’re at a campus tribe where the Greek system runs strong – than the ones my buddies are doing next week. I’ll keep you posted.

In case you’re wondering, my pic is of the Chi Alpha house at Arkansas.

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One Comment

  1. Great thoughts. This usually happens informally with my students as I point them to other students who’ve gone before them through whatever decision. A panel is a good fridea! ;=)

    Side note worth mentioning: Did you mean to say “Chi Alpha” or “Chi Omega” about the picture? It seems like I see an omega in the picture! Blessings, my Geek friend…I mean Greek…Greek friend!

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