batons, autumn, and shepherding always

I don’t know what your summer ministry looks like; summer programming is one of the wider variances between college ministry types and organizations. But there’s still a good percentage of you involved in gathering, leading, and impacting students right now, in some fashion or another.

And interestingly enough, many of the students you impact now will NOT be around in the fall. Maybe they’re part of a summer project under your watch, maybe you’re holding a campus-based ministry gathering of those attending classes this summer who – for whatever reason – won’t all be attending in September. Or maybe you’ve got a church-based ministry made up of students who grew up in your church… but who mostly attend school elsewhere.

Here’s the thing: We know that passing the baton with excellence is the job of the college minister. We’re meant to do that on a regular basis with our students as they graduate; a successful hand-off to a great church for their young adult years proves (or disproves) a lot about our college ministry’s effectiveness.

But this is key: We (for the most part) “pass the baton” not by explicitly helping graduates assimilate into a great ministry. We’re probably not making a lot of phone calls, Googling great churches in the new cities they move to, or contacting their new pastor to help them plug in. Instead, we successfully pass the baton by discipling students for the transition, paving the way for their speedy procurement of continued discipleship and ministry opportunities.

So that brings us back to our present summer.

Many of the students you’re seeing in July won’t be graduating right away… but they will be elsewhere this fall. Yet I’d argue we have the same role: discipling ANY students for the transition ahead. It’s not just our job to provide them with worship and great teaching, with fellowship events or ministry opportunities this summer. It’s also our job to prepare them to be radically and healthily impacted in September, wherever they may be.

How are you preparing your summer flock to be amazing sheep in others’ autumn flocks?

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