fighting the sameness, fighting the disconnected difference (some frideas)

Yesterday, I decried two aspects of our field that I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten a “bird’s eye view” of what’s taking place across the country:

  • A general homogeneity in the organization / structure of most college ministry work around the country – a “sameness” that doesn’t seem to reflect the wild diversity between (and within) the campus settings we serve.
  • A disconnectedness among college ministers, leading to a lack of principle-sharing and wisdom-sharing (and therefore broad difference in the very things that could use a little more standardization)

So since it is indeed Friday, I wanted to throw out a few basic-but-powerful Frideas (both BIG and little) to fight these problems – and improve our own campus ministries in the process. Even if you just pick one or two to focus on for the rest of the semester, I bet you’ll see real invigoration in your work…

Fighting the Sameness

  • Pray for insight and consider which parts of your ministry you incorporated “automatically,” whether that happened this year or twenty years ago.
  • Consider which parts of your ministry are there just because “students like it that way” or “supporters like hearing about that,” not because it fits your purposes best.
  • Go through your ministry’s activities and aspects, step-by-step, auditing for how well each is accomplishing its purpose. Consider for each one what might happen if you did it more, bigger, less, smaller… or if you scrapped it altogether.
  • Ask if any parts of your ministry are context-specific, that likely wouldn’t fit most other campuses. If you don’t have any (or only have a very few), you’re probably not contextual enough.
  • Fall in love with your campus (all over again). Get to know its peculiarities, its complexities, its eccentricities. Then reach it in light of those glories, not in spite of them.

Fighting the Disconnection

  • Consider how many aspects of your ministry have been touched / tweaked by wisdom gleaned from others (especially other college ministers). There should be a lot.
  • Take a day trip or midweek, multi-day trip to another campus. Meet with several college ministers there; even attend a few ministry functions. Take a lot of notes.
  • Ask regional / state coordinators (whether or not they’re in your organization / denomination) who is doing awesome things in an aspect your ministry could use help with. Contact the campus ministers they suggest.
  • Ask those same regional / state coordinators who’s doing awesome things in an area you think your ministry is really good at. Contact the campus ministers they suggest.
  • Get yourself to a college minister’s conference! Any college minister’s conference. Whether or not you’re the exact “target audience” for that college minister’s conference. Sit and listen. A lot. Take a lot of notes.

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