If the students at your school are interested in the NCAA Tournament, hopefully you’ve already got some plans for fellowship around the games! But whether you’ve got some gatherings planned already or not, here are some additional ways to make use of this glorious, very collegiate event.

Visit someone else’s watching party. Are the games going to be showing in the Student Center? Is another organization gathering to watch somewhere (with open invitations)? Why couldn’t you or your students just jump in there? You may not have a lot of opportunities to “hang out” with random students in quite the same way.

Start a(nother) bracket game. Your ministry’s “bracket challenge” doesn’t have to start with the 64 teams that play today. It can start with the Round of 32 or Sweet 16 – and more people will be “in it” for longer if you start later, too. And if you do, be sure to consider opening the audience widely – to your whole church, for instance, to the campus as a whole, or to all the ministries on your campus – whichever accomplishes the most right now.

Your own little Operation World. Are you familiar with the classic country-by-country prayer guide? Why can’t the Sweet 16 (or even the whole Tourney!) serve that way for your ministry, allowing your students to pray for each “campus tribe” represented? Wikipedia makes it easy enough to get population, location, educational focuses, and maybe even their number of international students or a little founding history. And Google could add some college ministries you can be praying for!

Let the Tourney set your agenda. A classic post here on the blog is the “Mad Libs eBay Road Trip,” which I actually did with students several years ago. (Mobile, Alabama, ended up being our randomly selected destination, and the entire mission trip was fantastic.) What if you determined to road trip in the next year to the winner of this year’s Tournament… or to the highest-achieving school within 1,000 miles (or any other distance)? You’d be surprised how well a mission trip or fun trip can be built on a “randomly” chosen destination – and it adds a little drama to the Tournament, no? It might even become a tradition!