We college ministers need to talk plenty about “love and relationships” – those things are on our students’ minds, they trip up plenty of Christian students, those areas are a chance to run counter-cultural to the campus, and they’ll lead to the life-changing choice of a spouse either in college or afterwards. So I figured I’d spend some posts talking about college students and romance – some new thoughts, and some of my favorite posts on the subject. (And yes, I just got married. So I suppose the topic is a bit fresh for me these days…)
First up, evaluating your ministry through the Great Couples Assessment, first posted at Valentine’s Day in 2012.
One interesting way to assess your ministry is along this unique line: the kinds of romantic couples it’s producing. Here are a few questions that are worth asking – even if there are different “right” answers, because campus ministries are different from each other.
1. When romantic couples emerge within your college ministry, are they awesome? A healthy college ministry will likely produce healthy couples, and couples that exemplify the very things the ministry celebrates. Do you and other students enjoy being around the couples your ministry produces? Are those couples healthy, or are they full of red flags?
2. Is your campus ministry really good about celebrating romance, relationships, marriage, etc.? Sometimes campus ministries aren’t even good at supporting couples, let alone celebrating God’s work in bringing people together!
3. Do solid Christians within your college ministry regularly build romances with each other? How this one relates to healthy college ministry is a bit more complicated. But if you’re not seeing couples emerge from within your ministry (and especially if you are seeing students enter into relationships regularly with students outside your ministry), it’s at least worth asking Why, right?
Are you providing opportunities for awesome men of God to meet awesome women of God? Is your ministry the kind of ministry that even attracts those awesome men and women? Is there room – even alongside the accompanying awkwardness – for students to enter into relationships with others in your ministry?
Related to this is the issue of offering gender-specific vs. co-ed opportunities. Read where I wrote about that – including some great comments from you guys!
4. Do people get married? Some might presume that a strong college ministry will indeed produce lots and lots of marriages, while others would recognize that marriage-immediately-after-graduating really isn’t the norm anymore.
But I think we have to imagine that within a college ministry with a good number of students, we would likely be seeing the occasional marriage produced. If not, it’s probably worth asking Why – even if in the end, we decide we’re right where we need to be.
So there you have it. Four questions. As you answer them, simply consider what the answers in your ministry should be… and then what they actually are. Ministries will be different, but I think these things are worth examining!
But what do you think?