ideas all around us: panera bread company

One of the roads to creativity I’ve written about before is simply looking around ourselves for collegiate ministry ideas. If we’ll keep our eyes open each day, there are always good ideas we could consider adapting to our world! Sometimes we just have to watch, notice a good idea (even when it has NOTHING to do with campus ministry), and then let our mind run with how we might adapt it to our work.

So to practice that method and have a little fun, that’s what I’m going to do this week: Watch for the college ministry ideas all around me, and share them with you!

Today’s idea comes from some workin’ I did yesterday at Panera Bread Company.

Panera Breads nationwide have free, no-hassle wireless internet. (As you can imagine, I’ve used them on occasion in various spots.)

Now, I recognize that for those college ministries that have buildings, offering free wireless to students who come hang out is (probably) a no-brainer for you! (If it’s not, well then thank Panera for that idea, too!)

But taking this one step further, I realized that nowadays we don’t need a building to provide internet for people, including off-campus where it still may not be readily available. Here are some ideas that just came to mind, as I let my mind run with this:

  1. What if your ministry invested in a mobile hotspot, so staff or student leaders can get work done while having a “ministry of presence” – perhaps in the lobby of a dorm or apartment, or at a local hangout?
  2. Better yet – some mobile internet options can allow for more than just a few connections. I know CLEAR internet, for example, is in many cities now; a little home internet tower and router could easily be taken to a restaurant, spot on campus, or other place where you’d love to connect with students. (What if you sponsored “study hours” each week, or during Finals?)
  3. Is there some place – a local hangout, a dorm, a building on campus – where your ministry could actually sponsor free wireless for everybody (or take up the cause and raise money from local businesses to do that)? What a way to serve students!
  4. (Remember, the idea is to let your mind run…) Has your ministry considered an iPhone app? It’s very possible you’ve got a student who would love to take that on as a project. (Check out examples of what can be done – or ways to get this professionally done – at ministries like The Church App.)

What’s your #5? The point here is brainstorming – not every idea will be useable, but you never know when you’ll be able to connect a good idea “out there” to a good idea for your ministry!


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