As I’ve written about before, why not use March to re-inspire those who support you, oversee you, and otherwise connect with your mission to the “campus tribes”?
Next month is (among several other things, I’m sure) National Social Work Month. Not only does this give me another reason to celebrate my wife, it’s a really smart move for national Social Workers. Giving themselves an “official month” each year gets their work spotlighted in a focused way, whether that’s from companies that employ social workers, the news media, financial supporters, the government, or others.
The field of Collegiate Ministry also runs on support and recognition, right? Many of us (particularly in the campus-based world) request donations from ministry partners – and we’d love to draw more partners, too. At Christian colleges, the directors of spiritual development need budget support and recognition from their higher-ups. And church-based college ministers need those same two things – budget help and recognition – not only from their bosses but from their entire congregations.
So if all that’s true, where’s our Month? Wouldn’t it be encouraging to have a month to talk about what you do – both the national work of college ministry, as well as how you’re accomplishing our vision in your local context? Even if it’s not a true “national event” (yet), you can simply request (or declare) a month to spotlight the importance, achievements, and needs of Collegiate Ministry.
But as I’ve argued before, I’d aim for March. Why does this make sense, not only this year, but for years to come?
1. Spring Break provides great examples of both the worst and the best of college life. Nationwide, most Spring Break weeks fall within the month of March. And Spring Break revelry is already quite famous as a picture of the darkness sometimes found on the college scene, right? That means we have a chance to point to a picture your supporters already have, and remind them of the solution we can help offer.
But there’s much more to the Spring Break story, and we can tell that one, too. Spring Break is a BIG time for major missions and service work within college ministry (even, on occasion, fighting against the very darkness described above). So March provides an opportunity to tell those stories, too. Even more “secular” activities can show the awesome side of college: like Alternative Spring Break (Google it if you don’t know what that is – it’s a big deal at many schools).
So the existence of Spring Break means March provides an amazing opportunity to tell the story of the impact of campus ministry… as well as exposing the darkness that is a real part of the college world.
2. …and Summer approaches!
Much of what I said above (about mission opportunities) applies to summertime, too. And March is often a time those same students (and sometimes their leaders) need to raise funds and raise up prayer partners for those adventures.
But the summer months are also a span when college (and college ministry) can fade from people’s minds. An injection of awareness each year in March wouldn’t hurt… and can likely carry through until things get going again in August or September.
3. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. I realize if you’re not a sports fan, this might not seem like a big deal. But I would argue that “March Madness” truly does provide an opportunity no other season does. (Read last year’s Vision Trip post for more – and look for the new one in a few weeks!) Even non-sports fans are at least aware this exists – and tying into something that already has awareness is an excellent PR move.
You could be the one starting a bracket competition in your church. You could be the one to contact your denomination’s news service, encouraging them to highlight college ministries at some of the “Final Four” schools (I did this with one denomination a couple of years ago, actually!). And so on.
4. It’s a better month for us than some. While September wouldn’t be a bad month to choose, it’s certainly not a month when we need to add a whole lot more to our calendars. And while logistics during Spring Break might be tricky, the later spring weeks – for many of us – aren’t all that rough.
These are my top 4 reasons, but there are others: It’s the start of the final quarter for Quarter System schools; it keeps us from competing with Youth Ministries and general “back-to-school busyness” in August. But why not consider using this month in one or more of these ways? (And feel free to use my free book if it helps!)