little blips of glory

I got to attend and speak at College Metro in Ft. Worth at the end of last week, and it was a phenomenal time. As usual, I walked with some very cool ideas for any sort of college ministry.

Speaking of which, this week Guy Chmieleski is holding another “blogathon” at his Faith on Campus blog, from Tuesday through Thursday! Be sure to visit and explore with us “the future of campus ministry.” It should be a neat time of cool collaboration from some of the leaders in our field.

Our field isn’t nearly developed enough for all the good ideas to magically “rise to the top” – if that’s what you’re waiting for, you’re really missing out. Instead, we have to “mine,” we have to dig – and conferences are an excellent chance to hear ideas you might be unfamiliar with… but might just be your college ministry’s next great undertaking.

So I wanted to dump some of those here. I might expand on some of these in coming days, but sometimes a random collection of unique ideas can be pretty great. If you have any questions about any of ’em, let me know.

  • Location change: Having your large group meeting occasionally on-campus (if you usually don’t), or otherwise having it in an especially visible location.
  • The Power of a “Union”: Purposely involving your entire ministry in other activities on campus, in events that will be buoyed by your presence.
  • Fostering Service: Involvement in loving on former foster kids who have “graduated” from the system at age 18, are attending college, and need a very special sort of service. (A chance to work in tandem with the university itself.)
  • Expertise meets impact: One minister gets business professionals from a local church involved in mentoring students in the business school – with intentionality toward sharing more than just “business talk.” Of course, this could work for several majors!
  • Stuck on you: Using clothespins emblazoned with your ministry’s info – and an encouragement to pass it on! Pass ’em out to students to clip on friends’ backpacks, etc. Very clever idea.
  • Getting their catching up… out: For returning students in the fall (or spring), hold pre-parties or volunteer activities before the first large group meeting or before the freshmen come to campus… so returning students can see each other, catch up, and then be ready to greet and connect with outsiders.
  • Explicit next steps: Whenever you have an event, try to use some portion of it to promote the next step – whether that’s your weekly opportunities or the next key event.
  • Chalk it up: If you find yourself needing to do similar forms of advertising as the rest of campus, you can stand out by doing it extra well. (The example given was using excellent sidewalk chalk designs on a campus where every organization “chalks.”)
  • Coming attractions: Use unique venues to advertise your ministry (the example given was advertising before movies played in the campus movie theater).
  • Scheduling social media: If you want to make sure to make use of your blog, Facebook fan page, and other campus ministry social media outlets, consider scheduling it – week-to-week, month-to-month. That way it’ll get done!
  • Another reason to “take requests”: Message series based on “hot topics” submitted by students are pretty trendy these days, but one campus minister did point out that taking these suggestions not only gives you a few message topics, but overall it lets you see what your students are dealing with right now!

If you know some church-based college ministers who would benefit from a yearly connection and training with other guys and gals like them, I’d really encourage them to connect with College Metro. It’s solid and unique in its helpfulness for that branch of college ministry.

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