I had a fantastic college ministry experience while I was attending Texas A&M University. And in the past week, I was reminded of it twice.

First, I connected with a girl at church – she’s actually a leader on the Ethiopia team I’ll be traveling with in July – who looked very familiar to me. Turns out, she and I worked closely together as freshmen on a dumb little newsletter for our campus ministry. There we were working late in the computer lab – freshmen – writing and editing the poorly-named (by me) “BSM Bugle”! It was my first chance to write regularly on ministry-related topics for public consumption… and what do you know? I’m still doing it.

And then last night, my fiancee and I worked through some boxes of my old, old keepsakes from college and other periods of my life. (I tend to be a… keeper.)

Through that process, I ran across a good number of collegiate items that made me smile: Old phone lists from ministries I was a part of. Memorabilia from my first year ever leading college students (as a sophomore leading freshmen). Teaching notes from the Sunday school class I got to lead as a Junior. Notes I took during church sermons, the enormous campus-wide Bible study called Breakaway, and our chaplain’s messages in Brothers Under Christ.

The point of this trip down memory lane isn’t to get autobiographical, though. It’s to remind you that there are “keepers” in your own ministry. Not all will hoard notebooks and fliers and other memorabilia, but they’re at least keeping memories. You have the chance to build an amazing chapter of an amazing testimony in student after student.

Some of them will be going through boxes in thirteen years, right before they get married or move houses. And they’ll be smiling – or even crying – as they recognize how much God used the years under YOUR care.

You’re sending them out to be all sorts of amazing things. But they won’t forget the launchpad.