ingredients #4: the tailored impact

All week long, I’ve been looking at “ingredients” that might be worth considering as you prepare next year’s bountiful college ministry feast. Today’s suggested ingredient is like the others: It’s an element we’d all agree is wonderful, that some campus ministries have found enormously beneficial, and that’s often in shorter supply than – perhaps – it should be.

Here’s a question: How regularly are students in your ministry being personally discipled?

I’m not talking about small group discipleship or even the “organic” conversations that so often pop up within our contexts. Those things are highly important, but so is the more intentional, more systematic shepherding that happens when a leader disciples a college student, or one college student mentors another.

I was blessed to be in a college ministry and at a school where one-on-one disciplemaking was both natural and widespread. But I realize that’s not most of our contexts, and unless we’re involved in college ministries that have made this a pillar (like The Navigators), it’s likely this awesome tool gets overlooked in light of methods that involve more people, more “performance,” or more popular acclaim among students.

In my mind, though, there are few methods that produce more individual growth… and yet because strong disciplemaking is always multiplicative, the impact can spread far and wide in only a few semesters.

Honestly, disciplemaking doesn’t only have to come from a formal, “Sign up to get discipled / Sign up to disciple somebody” format. In fact, that may not always be the best way to go (though it can be useful if it’s done right and trained well). But what if small group leaders looked for someone within the group they might disciple? What if strong, older students made it clear they’d love to disciple a person or two in the coming semester? What if you too looked for a few individuals who are clearly teachable and ready for some tailored impact?

Sprinkle this ingredient liberally in your college ministry, and I bet you’ll see some awesome fruit in the years to come!

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