I’m pondering a theory today. It’s a theory that the easiest moment for college ministers to show unity might just come during recruitment.

That’s a little mind-blowing – and like I said, I’m still pondering this – but here’s why it might just be true:

  1. Evangelical college ministers should, fundamentally, all be discipling the students they encounter during recruitment. If every college minister is helping students find a great college ministry (even if it’s not theirs) and helping students “acclimate spiritually” in their new campus, then they’re sharing a mission. And mission-sharing is a great version of unity.
  2. They should all be saying something similar: “We’ll give you great reasons to jump in with our college ministry. We don’t feel bad about putting our best foot forward, and we believe God’s doing a great thing in our community. But what’s even more important is that you land in a great college ministry, a place that believes the Bible and is healthy, a place where you’re going to grow and be stretched and hopefully someday lead. We want you to go deep in one place – not shallow in five ministries – even if it means you don’t join our ministry. And I know and am friends with many of these other college ministers. God’s doing great things in other ministries, too.”

I am a firm believer that each college ministry should recruit hard for their ministry. Bring your A-game. It’s okay to “compete,” especially in a positive way (showing great reasons to pick your ministry, as opposed to why students shouldn’t pick other ministries). But even doing some comparing and contrasting is okay, if we’re truly Kingdom-minded more than we’re pushing our own brand of ministry. Students should hear about our organization’s distinctives and why they might want to pick our ministry.

I’m also excited when college ministries help students figure out what a “great college ministry” looks like. We should help students realize that not every organization that calls itself “spiritual” or even “Christian” is one they’d want to join. (That’s part of #1 above.)

But can you imagine how unifying it would be if, each and every recruitment season, students heard the sentiments expressed above from many of the college ministers they encountered?