I had the awesome chance to speak last weekend for the college ministry retreat of Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto. A great group of students (from Stanford, Santa Clara U, and a few other schools) and their college ministers gathered in a cool little retreat spot, and we got to hang out Friday through Sunday.
And as always, I tried to notice what I was learning or being reminded of for our work as a whole.
Since taking my yearlong road trip and better developing my view of “campus ministry as missions,” I haven’t had too many opportunities to share this idea directly with students. (This view is best laid out in my ebook, Reaching the Campus Tribes.)
But every once in awhile, I’ve had the chance to speak either to a college ministry’s student leadership team or – in this case, at least – the ministry as a whole. And what I’ve noticed is that college students are able and willing to rise to the challenge as “college ministers” themselves. Even though they are in the throes of the college experience themselves, like the “indigenous” leaders raised up within foreign missions, students can get excited about serving as “missionaries to their own tribe.”
This is more than just asking them to serve as Student Leaders within the college ministry we (as college ministers) are directing. This is empowering them and encouraging them to take the added step of taking responsibility for the reaching of their campus. Yes, it’s still often best for them to have direction or oversight from somebody a little bit older. But there’s a difference in how much ownership they assume.
When I called the students to this – and encouraged them therefore to be open to ALL the ways God might direct their “missions” – they ran with it! For example, several students apparently stayed up late one night conspiring to reach a local community college with a Bible study (even though only one of those students actually attends that school).
In the days to come, I’ll share some of the points I used this weekend to push this idea. Hopefully those will help you do the same! But for now, my point is this: College students can rise to the challenge of a high level of “ownership” in your mission to the campus. How much do your students “own” the mission right now? Have they taken on the role of missionaries to their own campuses?