this-is-missions-monday: the missing momentum

In a section called, “College Ministry is Missing Momentum,” I reflect in Reaching the Campus Tribes on one of the concerns that was highlighted in my yearlong road trip:

One area in which college ministry reflects underdevelopment is its lack of momentum – both as a field of ministry and in individual local college ministries. Instead of growing stronger and wiser over time and striving for better methods and fruit in each new school year, we seem to be largely content with static, “stable” college ministry practices. (p. 31)

I give various reasons in that chapter, including lack of sharing wisdom, relatively few learning materials and training opportunities, and college ministers taking little advantage of what is available.

But if I was going to expand on that topic (and someday, maybe I’ll get to), I might focus on the fact that many individual college ministers just don’t think that way. I argue later in the book:

Based on my conversations and observations, I fear that some developed college ministries no longer place a high priority on regularly improving and gaining “momentum” from year to year. As in missions around the world, it is absolutely necessary that college ministries make aggressive progress to continue to fulfill their role in the campus tribe.

By “progress,” I don’t simply mean numerical growth – although that can certainly result from becoming an even better ministry (while some ministries will lose attendance as they grow better!). There are many other ways a college ministry might make progress:

  • impacting students more deeply
  • becoming a healthier ministry
  • more creatively impacting the campus
  • better reaching the entire mission field (including under-reached student groups, faculty, administration members, and even the surrounding community)
  • better preparing students for life after college
  • better helping freshmen transition into college
  • better complementing and cooperating with other campus ministries
  • and so on (p. 51-52)

I continue there on the topic of “aggressive progress,” but the theme of “momentum” in individual ministries is connected. The question is, Are you building momentum in your ministry over time… on purpose? For some of us who are more “doers” than “thinkers,” it may seem like building on successes is the only thing that’s needed. But that’s simply wrong.

Much of your college ministry’s potential momentum will only come by planning for it, taking steps to do the things above (or anything else you hope to accomplish – like increasing student leaders’ abilities, or changing your reputation on campus).

Are you planning for momentum? Are you taking steps to build it?


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