a quick guide for thinking about days

After receiving a great question about which day of the week might be best for a collegiate worship service, I’ve been discussing my answers in various ways. Today, a wrap-up of sorts: a quick guide to how I would make that decision.

What are other college ministries doing? I’d want to know which days they’ve picked, and if that choice is working. I’d also want to consider whether it’s best to aim for a different night (to avoid “competition”) or the same night (to encourage students to dive deep in one or the other).

What are other organizations doing?

What are students’ schoolwork rhythms? Are students more focused on studying, projects, or other classwork at certain times during the week or weekend?

What are students’ other rhythms? When is the “party scene” taking place? When do students go home, and how often do they go home? What’s the sports scene and schedule at my school? And besides these sorts of events, what rhythms do students themselves report feeling throughout the week – when are they stressed, when are they rested, when are they bored, when do they feel busiest, and when do they “just feel like doing something”?

What’s the church angle? If I’m a parachurch ministry, am I in a setting where churches will be concerned by the day / time I’ve chosen? If I’m church-connected in some way, do students in my context have expectations about attending “Sunday school” on Sunday mornings? If I’m leading a collegiate church (like the “mission” described in Monday’s post), will students have a hard time recognizing something as “church” if it’s not on the weekend? Is that a hill worth climbing?

Do my plans for a service affect when it should take place? Is our Large Group Meeting meant to “jumpstart” a week? Is it best as a reflection toward a week’s end? Is it just perfect as a midweek event?

What do local college ministers and other wise counselors suggest I do?

How could my advertising – both “systematic” and word-of-mouth – be affected by my choice?

For each of my stated purposes for this meeting, does any purpose have anything to do with when this should take place? It’s amazing what you realize when you focus on a very narrow question. In this case, take every purpose you have for the Large Group Meeting (and if you don’t have those explicitly stated somewhere, your problems are bigger than when you should meet…). And then for each purpose, pray and think: Will this purpose be served by choosing a certain schedule?

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