Which would have a greater impact in two years:
- Your college ministry… continuing roughly as-is through that time?
- Your college ministry… if you took next semester completely off (in order to relearn, re-contextualize, and revamp or replant the ministry)?
Can you bring yourself to ask that question and to give an honest answer?
The “Going for Broke” series looks at potential BIG leaps some college ministries could make. Whether they challenge you to think or you’re able to consider these actual steps, I hope they’re helpful (and fun) to ponder.
I have no doubt that there would be a cost – a real cost to impact – if your college ministry went into “hibernation.” Your present students would need to find a new fellowship (and some might not!), your momentum in various areas would be lost, you’d lose ground in the reputation you’ve built among students (and others).
But if we’re going to talk about “going for broke,” we have to be willing to consider where we are and where we could be if we took drastic measures. And one of the most drastic would be taking a semester to examine your mission field anew.
That’s why I asked the original question the way I did: Because the concern isn’t whether you’d have an equally impactful ministry right away. It’s whether, over time, the ministry might be more impactful because you’ve let the ground lie fallow for awhile.
Remember: You know more as a college minister now than you used to. You know your campus better, too (so you’ll know better how to examine its needs and opportunities). You will be better at building a campus ministry now than you were when you started… and for many of us, we actually inherited much of our ministry’s form anyway.
If we’re at least willing to ask ourselves this question – seriously – we’re in a good position to improve our ministries (even if it doesn’t happen this way).
***A similar (but less drastic) idea would be to do this sort of reevaluation / reexamination while still maintaining the current ministry – simply not focusing on recruiting, or otherwise continuing a “bare bones” form. In some cases, this might work well; in others, this might be worse than taking a full sabbatical.