All week I’m posting Frideas… in lieu of the holiday-skipped post on July 4th. While the titles may be slightly enigmatic, we’re looking at provocative possibilities for your coming school year: on Monday asking what to cut, then what to host, and today…

It’s interesting to see the dividing line between college ministries that often present their teachings in series form on a regular basis, and those ministries that present mostly “one-off” messages. This choice seems largely affected by each ministry’s approach to speakers: If you’re using different speakers each time, you will naturally have a harder time moving through a series.

I’m a fan of “the series” in college ministry, because I think it helps with things like

  • retention
  • raising expectations
  • remembering what’s been taught in the past
  • and building a sense of unity / history within a ministry.

But I’d also argue there are other, smaller ways to do this within a college ministry, too. So that’s today’s question: What “links” could you put in place to span many weeks – or even the entire year?

Like all Frideas, this isn’t necessarily for every ministry. But the point is to encourage you to give it some serious thought. (Too often, we reject out-of-hand something that could actually be an innovative tweak to our present form.)

So what components might be used to link your weeks together?

  • Series: …whether you move from having no series at all to presenting a few month-long series, or you think about series that last the entire semester or year (!). Don’t do this just because it might be cool, but if it fits the other things you’re trying to accomplish through teaching, this can be a powerful way to build expectations, excitement, and even recruitment if it’s done well. (Sometimes it’s easier to recruit if students know that they’re recruiting TO.)
  • A little bit of “Liturgy”: I’ve seen regular ol’ Evangelical college ministries use crowd-aloud statements or other components to establish their purpose and build unity on a weekly basis. This can also include things each teacher says or does – like a simple application statement, or a benediction.
  • Visual Reminders: Even if you don’t teach through a series, what if you established “milestone markers” for each message and/or each big event? This could be artwork, a simple “icon” that reminds of a topic or metaphor used, or something printed on the weekly notes.
  • Verbal Reminders: One simple way to “span” is to walk through each “summary phrase” from the messages taught so far, each week. It could almost become a game for students to remember – and it can encourage those who missed to grab the notes or listen to the mp3.

What else could “span” your ministry this time around?