the opportunity in asymmetry

What are you up to this week?

As best I can figure (without actually Googling a hundred different college calendars), a whole bunch of schools start back next week.

But the truth is, there are some starting this week. Locally, for instance, University of Texas at Dallas begins today. And University of Georgia would be starting today, except they’re pushing things back because of the weather.

But schools like that – and I bet there are a lot more than two schools starting today – aren’t the true early birds. That honor rightly goes to the Quarter System schools, many of which seem to have started their Winter Quarter a full week ago.

What does this calendar-asymmetry mean to a college minister who wants to get better at his craft?

If your school is just now starting back or especially if you don’t resume ’til next week, it means you have the chance to examine other ministries January efforts, either in-person or from afar. You can Google college ministries at Quarter System schools like UCLA, University of Washington, University of Cincinnati, Northwestern University, Drexel, Dartmouth, Stanford, DePaul, Ohio State, and so on. You can examine what they’re up to, or what their calendars promise in the coming weeks. If you’re really brave, you can contact a few college ministers and ask for ideas.

You might notice that you can enjoy the Veritas Forum sessions at Cal Poly, for instance.

(Of course, you can also pray for and root for all those missionary men and women who are pioneering God’s work among the campus tribes in 2011, while you and I sit on our couches…)

If you’re one of those college ministers that doesn’t have an awful lot to do until next week, why not find some schools in your state that have already begun? What are their college ministries doing? Could you visit them? Call them? Encourage them? Learn from them?

For those who are in the thick of things already, maybe this still suggests something to put on the calendar for later. There are other moments – Spring Break, for instance, or September (before you start back, you crazy Quarter System people) – when other ministries are underway.

Whatever your situation, here’s the big question and my big statement:

What if once or twice a year, you visited another college ministry? What if once or twice a month, you wandered some of their web pages?

Your campus ministry will never be as excellent as it could be if you don’t seek out wisdom from outside your ministry.

The asymmetries of college calendars – and therefore of college ministry calendars – gives many of us some pretty opportune moments for a little learnin’.

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