Sometimes it’s just helpful to have a pile of ideas or resources to think about in regards to college ministry – especially as we enter the summer and start thinking (or continue thinking) about next school year. (Meanwhile, some of us – including many church-based college ministers – are jumping right into their “second college ministry” with summertime students.)
This small pile of ideas, links, and thoughts comes directly from my amazing time with the BASIC College Ministries leaders at their Propel conference this week. I wanted to give everybody those same things, as well as provide an outline of my talk – which obviously provides a whole “pile of ideas” itself!
So here you go. Hope it’s helpful.
- Simple Church. I brought up this great book several times to help college ministers think through the “path of progress” they’re providing for / expecting of their students. Though it’s written about churches, it’s easily “translatable” – and profoundly helpful for us.
- The Books of Daniel and I Peter (and probably Esther, too). These all came up in the context of how campus ministries live “under captivity” (or something like that). How do we work, serve, witness, and thrive within a campus tribe that may be not only indifferent to our message but even concerned about our methods? These books of the Bible answer this question differently than popular Christianity and even some college ministries do.
- The Dip. This came up a couple of times, especially in the context of newly forming college ministries. Are you prepared to do what it takes to establish a long-lasting and long-effective campus mission? And have you considered all the options for the scope of your ministry – including not aiming for a traditional, full-fledged college ministry? This secular (and very short) business book will help you answer those questions.
- CruPress and NavPress both came up multiple times as great places to look for tips on leading small groups (especially the former) and curriculum for small groups (especially the latter).
- Veritas Forum came up multiple times as a great example of an outside group that can be awesome for multiple ministries on a campus to rally around (and thereby unify around). I also discussed Veritas as really helpful for providing Christian forums that can still appeal to a fully secular campus.
- I actually failed (I think) to give most of the group the address for my (free!) ebook. You can find that at www.reachingthecampustribes.com.
Here’s the outline of my two seminars from the weekend. Remember, I was speaking to leaders from multiple church-based college ministries, so these seminars tilt that way. But there’s lots in there that would apply to most of us.
SEMINAR ONE: WHO WE ARE
We Are College Ministers
- we have an awesome and noble calling
- we must be learners (whether our personality tilts that way or not)
- we are missionaries to a specific tribe
We Are Missionaries
- this is difficult
- long-term and short-term strategy is vital
- we should be building toward longevity
- contextualization is fundamental
We Are Part of the Campus Tribe
- we should respect the land we’re called to
- we should love the land we’re called to
- we should connect with life there
- we should connect with and join in with what God’s already been doing there
We Are Sent By a Church
- there are some advantages to being church-based; use them!
- we should share our story and our specific role with our church; help them understand and support us!
- we should help our church own the vision and work toward a long-lasting, fruitful campus mission
- we should consider how we’re shepherding home-grown students – perhaps even first
SEMINAR TWO: (NEW?) IDEAS WORTH PONDERING
- Purpose-based Methods (every time)
- Preparing students for an excellent Transition Out (to the “real world”)
- Don’t be afraid to love your campus
- Don’t be afraid to take a step back and make sure you’re building the best possible College Student Plan
- Don’t be afraid to invent
- Be excited about what you can do
- Learn more about the Millennials (since they’re our mission field right now)
- Don’t be too student-centered (they need adult direction and wisdom)
- Prioritize teaching students to be “great in the basics”
- Get great in the basic skills of college ministry
- What you’re doing – campus ministry – is so very worth it