students, resumes, and spiritual formation

A college minister recently sent me a question that’s definitely applicable to a large portion of today’s students. So I figured I’d share an answer, and I’d love to hear if you have anything to add!

Many of my students are trying to find resume building activities/ groups to be a part of, even as freshman and sophomores. How can ministries encourage and recruit leaders AND be a helpful part to a student’s resume? Are there any dangers to thinking like that? Know of any creative ways to put these together?

Here are some first thoughts, and I’ll probably follow this post up with some more soon.

this is a chance to teach a theology of work

The fact that students are keyed in on resume-building means they might be all the more open to discussion how God intersects with their occupations and careers. College ministry (as a whole) hasn’t necessarily been too strong in presenting a theology of work, but we should – and today’s driven students will be more hungry for it than ever before.

this is a chance to teach a theology of “balance”

I know some people don’t love the word “balance,” but whatever you call it, students need to figure out how ministry, spiritual growth, friendships and other relationships, and education / work are meant to fit together. Do your students have a grasp on figuring that out? I do not mean teaching them how to balance the “sacred” and the “secular” – as indicated by the above paragraph, it’s all meant to be “sacred.” But a healthy, growing life will have different aspects to it – and students need to learn now (since they probably haven’t already) how that all works.

college ministry activity can be resume-building

College ministries that are run well often DO provide excellent resume-building opportunities. What we give students an opportunity to “do” is pretty phenomenal – from training to large-scale leadership to event-planning to direct mentorship. And I think it’s valuable to remind students of that fact – both as an attractive reason to sign up, and as a motivation as they’re ministering. When you’re a student giving 10 hours a week to your college ministry, it’s encouraging to realize that you’re gaining skills and wisdom for a lifetime.


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  1. Love this Benson.

    As a parachurch campus minister, I wonder if so many on campus don’t go here because of fear that they are equipping their best leaders to go get a job somewhere else. But that’s not a faith and kingdom perspective.

    I love the ways that this does what you suggest – equip people to think theologically and have an integrated view of work and the Kingdom. But it also has great evangelistic potential too (or maybe that is what you were suggesting) – providing a relevant service to the university and campus and also being able to help students who are tunnel visioned on success think bigger about what they are striving for in their lives. Great idea for some dorm programs and other types of things.

    Good stuff.

  2. Brian – this is GREAT.

    The evangelistic aspect was NOT was I was suggesting – but I should have included it! That’s an excellent aspect to this that I never thought about, even though I have encouraged us to consider other areas where our faith offers excellence that the world would find intriguing (relationships, social justice, leadership and so many more.

    Thinking about Success and even “Purpose in Life” in the same way is a really great idea. We offer the very things the world wants, which is an awesome apologetic that early Christians used in a big way.

    Thanks, Brian!

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