For many college ministers, January (or even the semester that follows) is a time for toying with Big Ideas, for contemplating some shifts or undertakings that could produce great fruit this semester or next school year. We may even spend some time thinking about the Big Ideas other college ministries seem to have thrived with.

Of course, it’s important for us to innovate, to change, to learn from other ministries, and all the rest. But in seeing campus ministry all over the country, I’ve not only learned how awesome these things can be… I’ve also learned how often Big Ideas can be less fruitful than we’d hoped.

That’s the nature of innovation, of course. It doesn’t always work. But if we’re going to learn from others about Big Ideas that could bring Big Fruit, we should probably be learning about when (and why) some Big Ideas should be approached with a little trepidation.

Far too often, I’ve seen college ministers barrel forward with Big Ideas without seeming to recognize the potential downsides. Some will even proclaim certain methods, changes, or philosophies as “the” way to do college ministry. But it’s important for us to recognize when Big Ideas have proven… difficult. Fragile. Highly contextual. Or otherwise tricky.

So scattered over the next couple of weeks, I’ll introduce a handful of Big Ideas that may be exactly what you and your ministry need to pursue – but that are, at least, “worth some trepidation.” For now, here’s the challenge: For any Big Ideas you instituted last semester (or plan for this semester), how well have you worked through the potential problems?