will mancini on college ministry (indirectly)

A few of us from my church had the cool chance to sit down with Will Mancini for lunch yesterday. Will heads a church consulting firm that focuses on helping churches clarify their vision and mission, and he frequently speaks at things like Catalyst.

His new book, Church Unique, aims “to help churches develop a stunningly unique model of ministry” – and that’s what stuck out to me most from yesterday’s conversation. Will described his heartbreak as church after church that he encounters proves to be more cut-and-paste than truly unique manifestations of Christ’s Body played out in their specific context with their specific people. But it was clear as he talked that his biggest problem with this approach isn’t that this strategy has made churches horribly ineffective – they may in fact be huge, they may see lots of results. Instead, it simply hasn’t made them nearly as effective as they might have been… if they’d taken a more unique path.

This is one of my biggest heartbreaks for our world, too. I wonder what would happen if even a third of the college ministries out there were built for their very specific tribes – rather than closely following the blueprint of a national organization, the biggest ministries in their region, or the general mass of “most” ministries like theirs. Campus-based, church-based, collegiate churches, even institutional ministries at Christian schools – we all have the chance to build “College Ministry Unique,” letting the soil determine the crops we plant, just like a missionary would.

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