I Googled “How to make a closing argument” the other night, and an eHow article well summarized what other sites pointed out. Their five tips there could be boiled down to:
- Thank and reconnect with the jury
- Summarize your entire case
- State everything simply; it’s past the time for complex legal definitions
- Refer to your strongest examples of (physical) evidence
- Undercut your opponent’s closing arguments
At this point, you probably don’t have a lot of time left to make your “closing arguments” to your college ministry for the semester. But these tips actually may provide a handy little springboard to thinking through what we want to accomplish in the final days, before students head home and spend weeks away from their new collegiate life! Whether in a final message, a quick recap during the Christmas party, a well crafted email, or a letter sent home, we’ve got the chance to “close the deal” on everything God has been teaching our students.
Here’s what those five points suggest for our own campus ministry “closing arguments”:
1. Reconnect with students
For all the preaching, discipling, serving together, pushing, exhorting, and other impacting you’ve done, it might be worth reminding students that you really do love them and appreciate their involvement in the college ministry.
2. Remind students
I think most of us would be depressed by students lack of recall about what we taught them in large group and small group meetings this semester. Why not spend some moments – or an email or two – reminding them of the things God called you to deliver this semester? Perhaps a last message of this – rather than one NEW thing – could be the best course?
3. Stay simple
Blunt. Clear. With definite application. We really want students to use everything they gained this semester, both from various teachings as well as your experiences together. So it’s probably time to be simple, straightforward, and solid.
4. Get sticky
We don’t just want students to remember what we’ve taught them now, we want it to stick all the way through Finals and the Break and into next semester and all through life… right? So just like a lawyer might point back to the strongest, most shocking evidence, we can very purposely help students remember. Maybe it’s a series of word pictures from the messages, perhaps a handy-dandy memory aid, maybe just the boldest examples you can muster. Whatever the case, now might just be the time to get sticky.
5. Fight the troubles they’ll face
We should remember that the Enemy will start his own argument as soon as we’re done – and he’ll keep fighting all Winter Break. In our “closing arguments,” we should help students prepare for the coming onslaught – which will come against the very things God has been doing this semester. What temptations, trials, and other turmoil will threaten to undermine what you’ve taught them or they’ve learned this semester? Look ahead to the fight, and arm your students accordingly!