tweaking your Finals plans (an abundance of frideas)

I’ve written (and even spoken at a conference) before on a method for brainstorming that not only makes “creativity” easy for non-creative people, but also allows college ministers to tweak their present activities to accomplish our purposes best. I call it “exploring the edges” or the Slider Method.

If you’re interested, you can find audio of my “Better Brainstorming” talks via Campus Ministry United. Here are the links; you can download them or play them directly: “Better Brainstorming With Benson” pt. 1, “Better Brainstorming With Benson” pt. 2. (There’s a shorter, somewhat different explanation at this post, too.)

So I thought for today’s Fridea, I’d use that method on the classic “Finals Study Session.” This should provide some Frideas you can actually use, but hopefully (and more importantly), it’ll give you a tool for tweaking any other Finals Week ideas you’ve got for maximum effectiveness.

The Classic Finals Study Session

Lots of college ministries (and other student organizations) establish some kind of presence on campus to help students study (and/or provide a break from studying). Of course, other purposes can be accomplished besides this act of service – like connecting with students, recruiting, and so on.

The “classic” method may be exactly what a campus ministry needs to best hit its aims. But what if a method can be tweaked to do that even better? Let’s explore some various “axes” of this particular method and see what versions we come up with. Would any of these fit your purposes better?

The Who Axis (thinking bigger, smaller, or crazier)

bigger (on the who axis)

  • Advertising all across campus, not just to your ministry
  • Specifically urging students to bring friends
  • Bringing together students from multiple campuses (which might affect WHERE you have it, too)
  • Do this in conjunction with other collegiate ministries


  • Holding this for only a single major
  • Offering it for one dorm or apartment complex
  • Establishing a “guys only” or “girls only” or “Seniors only” study break (etc.)
  • Purposely holding it only for your campus ministry’s students (and maybe any friends they bring?)


  • Encouraging professors, tutors, or staff to attend (for the fun, to connect with students, or to help students)
  • Bringing in people from a local church or churches to facilitate, connect with students, etc.
  • Limiting the invite to different groups on different nights (maybe even mixing groups interestingly)

The What Axis

bigger (on the what axis)

  • Offering not only study time but… food, tutoring, video game breaks, board game breaks, napping couches, movies…


  • Limiting it to only those who need a certain kind of studying – like group study, or completely silent study
  • Not offering study space at all, but only relaxation, food, tutoring, or any of the other things listed under “bigger”
  • Focusing on large-group study sessions around a single test or single major


  • Taking a “study road trip”!
  • “Crash” a local restaurant or coffee shop to do this (you might wanna let them know)
  • Coordinate with professors to provide extra special study aids for particular tests

The When Axis


  • Offer this far more than you’d planned – maybe throughout Finals (or even start before Finals start)
  • Offer the session(s) for longer than usual – all day, all night… or both!


  • Offer this only once
  • Make the time especially short (but do it really, really well)


  • Offer several of these at different times and in different locations (which affects WHERE axis, too)
  • Make it a “cram session” offered early every morning
  • Put it in the middle of the day instead of at night

Get the idea? By focusing on one “axis” at a time, we can take any method and think through potential “tweaks.” And we only explored three axes here – you could still brainstorm the Where Axis and the “newly discovered” With Whom Axis.

And of course, this method can be applied to any of yesterday’s 29 ideas… and anything else you’re planning to do during Finals this year. Are you accomplishing everything you could? Tweaking can be a lovely thing…


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  1. Pingback: another source « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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