As I spoke to the team of student leaders last weekend, one theme I visited was the concept of “Better Brainstorming.” It’s something I’ve discussed before here on the blog; you can listen to a longer version at the links below. (There’s a shorter, somewhat different explanation at this post, too.)
The purpose of this method is to help anyone creatively “tweak” their present ideas to better accomplish their purposes – even those ministers or students who don’t feel they’re very naturally “creative.”
But I added something to my explanation this weekend: Not only did I encourage students to consider how they might adjust the “Who,” “What,” “When,” and “Where” of their projects, I also urged them to add a With Whom axis. I told them that for each of their plans and events, they needed to purposely consider what other teams might be good to consult or cooperate with.
If the Activities Team plans a Game Night, they probably don’t have to take care of everything themselves. They can get some advertising fliers designed by the Advertising Team. The Freshman Team can make sure to tell first-year students specifically. The Team devoted to reaching out to another, underserved local campus can help Activities figure out an appropriate date/time if they want those students to attend. And so on.
There are always possibilities to bring more people into the discussion, and I love the model of cross-planning among campus ministry ministry teams. Each team can focus on building expertise in their area, then making it available for any project where it’s useful.
I realize not every college ministry has this sort of developed “Ministry Team” structure. But many ministries have individual students, volunteers, or staff members devoted – formally or informally – to individual areas of the ministry. The more these leaders see each other as resources and teammates rather than simply “other leaders in charge of something different,” all the better.
For audio of my “Better Brainstorming” talks, Campus Ministry United has made them available. Just use the links below; either right-click to save the file to your computer (by clicking “Save Target As,” “Save Link As,” or something similar), or just click to play them directly.