the opportunity to reach niches

Yesterday I talked about the need for fewer ministries on campuses – or at least the need for us to defer to what’s already happening and examine it closely before determining that a campus needs our brand of collegiate ministry.

Today, I make a case for more ministry, using a post from a couple of years ago (with some edits and additions). Enjoy.

one of our biggest opportunities

I once heard about some missionaries who were working really hard to reach Japanese people in a particular city…

…in Australia!

After seeing the wide variety of college ministries around the country (and thinking about college ministry in terms of missions for so long), I honestly believe one of our biggest opportunities for impact is in the area of niche-based college ministry. Within the larger “campus tribe” each of us seeks to reach, there are likely numerous smaller niches that would benefit from particular outreach.

And in some towns, I’d extend that “niche” focus to other campuses, particularly the local community colleges and trade schools that may have no college ministry at all.

There are a variety of ways to do niche-based ministry, and often it will take place as a small piece within the “main” ministry that already exists.

But occasionally there might be the chance to “go for broke,” too…  by launching extensive new outreaches – perhaps entire new ministries – to reach particular niches.

On many campuses, multiple college ministries seem to be largely attracting the same type of students. While today’s suggestion for “going for broke” doesn’t mean jettisoning your present ministry, your mission – if you choose to accept it – would involve establishing a major “beachhead” among groups that aren’t already being reached well. For many niches, this may be what’s needed if they’re going to be reached.

Through this, you might have the chance to better reach one of the “classic” niches that college ministries have found so much success in reaching already: International students. Athletes. Various ethnicities. In many cases, those are being reached not within another ministry, but as a ministry – Fellowship of Christian Athletes, for example.

Your new ministry / major new outreach might connect with a group whose schedule, identity, geography, etc., indicate it could use a specialized effort: Engineering majors. Gamers. Those who spend almost all their time on South Campus. Commuters. Transfer students. A very specific minority group.

Or you might reach a group that rallies around a lifestyle or philosophy: The LBGT community. Thursday night partiers. Campus Republicans. Environmentalists. Mormons.

If you look around at your campus – or at some local, “unreached” campuses, it’s likely you’ll see some group – even if it’s small in size – that won’t likely be reached by your present small groups, Large Group Meeting, or other activities.

Maybe another college ministry will be called to reach them. Maybe yours is.

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