This week, I’ve been walking through a progression that leads to one of the most important principles I know for college ministry.

  • First, I noted that what our students become shows how well we’re ministering now.
  • Then I said those hopes should translate into our goals for the ministry.
  • Then yesterday, I said those goals should be concrete and explicit; we should focus on them consistently as we perform our ministry.

I want to take one more step today: Once we clearly define our goals, only then should we decide on our methods.

As God leads us to the various aims for this year (at least the ones He wants to reveal), those goals should be used to determine our methods, even down to our smaller, supposedly “no brainer” decisions.

Very, very often we get this backwards: We “do college ministry,” based on what we’ve seen or what we’ve done before or our own creativity. And then we get excited about whatever fruit results. But what if, from the very beginning, our goals became the driving focus of our methods? What if our “necessities” really did lead to our inventions? What if we never started a brainstorming session with “What do we want to do?” but only began with “What do we hope to accomplish?”

What if we never planned a Large Group, never delivered a single message, never decided on a small group study… without forming those things around our decided goals for our ministry and its students? As an old saying goes, “Form is the handmaid of Function” – our methods and structures should always serve our “functions” – what we’ve decided our campus ministry should be accomplishing.