My friend Phil is a young adult minister here in Dallas, and we’ve had some cool chances to chat over the past months. While the fields of Young Adult Ministry and College Ministry certainly aren’t the same, there’s enough in common that we both seem to benefit from the mutual wisdom-sharing.
One of the things Phil is doing is starting up a regular gathering of local young adult ministers, and that’s clearly one method that a lot of college ministers try in their settings. It’s pretty common for a campus’s college ministers to come together for prayer, sharing, brainstorming, or to work on projects together.
It’s also pretty common for those gatherings not to achieve quite what everybody hoped they might. My journeys have regularly brought me upon the ruins of recent “unity attempts” of this sort.
Time was short as Phil and I discussed this yesterday, so I just spit out two quick points that are really important for keeping this sort of regular gathering going… AND accomplishing great things:
1. Make the gatherings extremely purposeful.
2. Make sure everybody knows the gatherings are purposeful.
Far too often, we get going on something like this because “it seems like a great thing,” without ever giving much thought to what are actual, explicit goals are. But an activity is truly purposeful only if the purposes determine the methods. What do you want to accomplish with these gathered college ministers over the next months? Only once you’ve got this figured out should you decide what meetings will involve.
And then as the meetings get underway, everybody needs to be reminded that we’re not getting together “just to get together.” Except for those with a certain type of personality, most college ministers just don’t believe that coming together like this is automatically valuable.
And they’re right – it’s not.
So everyone needs to see that this gathering is different. They need to know that real things – both “overtly spiritual” and “practical” things – are being accomplished.