As you may remember, I’m now happily employed at a big church helping with service, outreach, missions, social justice, or whatever your circles might call it. And it’s been a blast.
I had learned a lot about that field from within collegiate ministry; obviously, campus ministers spend a lot of time here. But I’ve also learned a whole lot of new stuff within this position. So I figured it might be nice to spend some time relating it back to collegiate ministry. Make sense?
The Organic Ordination of Outreach Opportunities
There are plenty of ways to choose how a college ministry will invest its time in missions opportunities, both local and international. But I think college ministers (and other Christian ministers) might be too quick to pick outlets for service based on either
- Their own passions
- What’s “near at hand,” either because it’s easy or because someone simply brings up the idea
- Or on what causes / locations / methods are particularly fashionable.
What if, instead of (or alongside) these methods, we let what God has already been doing be a major guide for how we serve? What if we heavily considered participating in the missions opportunities our students are already passionate about (or better yet, already participating in)?
Yes, this means learning what venues (if any) our students have found in which to serve. If God is already calling a few or many students to serve Him in a particular cause or organization, it may be your job to identify, “vet,” and ordain that as an official outreach opportunity for your ministry.
But this philosophy might additionally lead you to notice where various students are involved, even if those areas aren’t in themselves service-oriented. Do you have a lot of students participating in the Band, or living in a certain dorm, or pledging a particular sorority? Have you drawn students from a particular major, or several from a certain hometown or country? Could even these things be indicators of how God might have your entire ministry serve?